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Mesa Weed Deal Leads to Sexual Assault of 16-Year-Old Girl; Suspect Says Sex Was Consensual Because Victim Agreed (Out of Fear for Her Life)

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A Mesa man taught a 17-year-old drug dealer a "lesson" over the weekend, apparently by raping the dealer's 16-year-old girlfriend and stealing his drugs, cell phone, and laptop.

The suspect, Andrew Cushman, 24, claims the sex was consensual -- because the girl agreed to the sex out of fear for her life.

Newsflash: if your pickup line is basically "don't make this rape turn into a murder," it's still rape.

Last Friday night, Cushman and two of his friends tried to buy 1 1/2 ounces of weed from the 17-year-old victim. Cushman had the victim and his 16-year-old girlfriend meet him at an abandoned house at 951 South Lazona Drive in Mesa, where he told the victims he'd be waiting.

When the two got there, they were met by one of Cushman's friends, who told them Cushman had gone to the store but to come in and wait for him.

The two went into the house and were led into a basement, where Cushman was waiting, seated in a folding chair.

The 16-year-old, probably thinking something was amiss by then, tried to walk back up the stairs to get her dog, which was left outside.

When she got to the top of the stairs, though, another one of Cushman's buddies -- this one wearing a red bandanna over his face -- was waiting. He pushed her back down the stairs.

Then he pulled out a gun.

Cushman told the two victims that he was getting paid to "teach" the 17-year-old drug dealer a "lesson" -- which wasn't true, according to court documents obtained by New Times. It's more likely Cushman said it in an attempt to justify what he was doing.

Cushman then duct-taped the 17-year-old victim's hands together.

The 16-year-old girl was then taken to separate room by Cushman, as his buddies stole the 17-year-old's cell phone, his weed, and a laptop computer he had in a backpack.

Cushman then told his pals they could leave, that he would take care of the rest.

By "the rest," Cushman apparently meant raping the girl and allowing the 17-year-old to escape and call police, which is allegedly what happened.

After his friends left, Cushman went into the room where he'd placed the girl, pushed her against a wall, pulled her pants down, and tried to rape her.

When he was unable to penetrate the girl at that angle, he had her get down on the floor, where he was able to finish raping her.

The girl, court docs claim, told him to stop because she was only 16. One of Cushman's friends -- who went back to the house to check on his friend -- even went into the room to tell him to knock it off.

Before Cushman's friend got back to the house, though, the 17-year-old was able to free himself (as the girl was being raped), escape, and call police.

Cushman and his friend were arrested as they were leaving the abandoned house.

In a police interview after the incident, the 16-year-old identified Cushman as "the one who raped me."

Cushman admitted to police that he had sex with the girl but claimed it was consensual.

He said the girl told him he could do whatever he wanted as long as he didn't kill her or her boyfriend.

Cushman's been charged with two counts of kidnapping, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of aggravated robbery, and five counts of sexual abuse.

The identities of his cronies -- and whether they'll be charged in the robbery -- is unclear.

Cushman's first court appearance is scheduled for August 2.

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