Christopher Beck, 30, has been charged with two counts of first-degree rape, one count of second-degree rape and two counts of second-degree robbery in connection with three reported rapes in early 2014.
Christopher X. Beck doesn’t dispute the fact that he had sexual encounters with three different women he met online over a 15-day period in 2014.
But he says it wasn’t rape, as alleged by his victims and argued by King County prosecutors during opening statements Tuesday in his King County Superior Court trial.
Beck, 30, is charged with two counts of first-degree rape, one count of second-degree rape and two counts of second-degree robbery for the alleged attacks on three women in Seattle he met through backpage.com and Craigslist. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Phillip Sanchez said Beck “threatened, choked, terrified and most of all raped” the women early last year.
Defense attorney Walter Peale told jurors that the time, place and women involved are not in dispute. Rather, the question is whether the acts were rape, particularly when two of the alleged victims had advertised sensual services online, and Beck agreed to meet all using his real name.
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“The bottom line it’s going to get down to is ‘he said, she said,’ ” Peale told the jury. “Was this a case of rape in the first- and second-degree? Mr. Beck says no.”
Sanchez opened the trial by laying out a timeline of the alleged rapes. The first alleged victim, a 25-year-old erotic masseuse, was raped in her Capitol Hill apartment on March 4, after arranging to meet with Beck to receive payment for a massage he’d received two weeks earlier, Sanchez said.
He stole three cellphones and multiple gift cards from the woman after physically restraining her and raping her, the prosecution’s court documents say.
The second woman, Sanchez said, was raped on March 13 in Beck’s car in the parking lot of the McDonald’s on 4th Avenue South, after Beck responded to a Craigslist advertisement the 21-year-old posted saying she needed help with money, and food.
According to the prosecutors, the third alleged rape occurred on March 19, in the Westin Hotel room of a 47-year-old Florida woman who Beck had booked for an erotic massage through backpage.com. After he raped her, Beck stole $500 the woman had earned from other clients that day, Sanchez said.
“He chose the time and the place where it would happen,” Sanchez said. “When he got them alone, Christopher Beck said he ‘was going to get what he came for’ and raped them.”
In all three arrangements, court documents show that Beck used his real name to respond to the women’s advertisements, and forensic analysis of the semen found on two of the three victims found that the “probability of the DNA belonging to anyone other than (Beck) at one in 18 quintillion.”
Victims, people they confided in after the alleged incidents, police officers and hospital workers are expected to testify for the prosecution.
Peale, in his opening statement, told the jury that Beck approached women who had advertised sexual services online using his real contact information, which is not the typical behavior of someone intending to commit rape. In contrast, he said, sex workers “hide their practice and hide the way they conduct themselves.”
Ultimately, he said, “there’s no amount of scientific evidence brought into this courtroom that will answer the questions: Are these women accurately describing what happened, and is Christopher Beck not accurately describing what happened?”
It would be up to the jury to “resolve the disputes,” he said.
“Not who it was. Not when it was. Not where it was — but what it was, and why.”