Opening statements were given this (Wednesday) morning and testimony began in the third-degree sexual abuse trial of a former Mason City police officer. 38-year-old Dan Mason was placed on administrative leave in December 2004 after a young woman accused him of sexually abusing her while he was off duty. Assistant Attorney General Patricia Houlihan says Mason traumatized the accuser, who was his ex-girlfriend. The prosecutor tells the jury “Dan Mason, the police officer, became a stranger when he did that to her.” Attorney Houlihan charges that Mason wanted to have sex, and ignored the woman’s pleas to stop. She charges that he “drove off in his pickup truck and left her bruised, raped, crying, frightened and terrorized.” Houlihan says the woman was 19 when they met and Mason was 37. “He had way more life experiences than she did.” Mason’s attorney Patrick Byrne says when Mason and his roommate showed up at the accuser’s house that night the woman welcomed them in, and that she even went out to his truck and brought in some beer. Attorney Byrne says though the woman claims she was afraid, didn’t want Mason there that evening, and wanted to ask him to leave, instead she went out to the truck on her own, got the beer and brought it into her home, handed one to each of the men and took one herself, then put the rest in her refrigerator. Byrne says Mason and the accuser engaged in sexual activity and Mason respected her wishes when she asked he stop.The charges of third-degree sexual abuse and second-degree burglary are each Class C felonies which carry a sentence of up to ten years in prison. Mason faces two more trials on other charges in the case.
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