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Trial opens with different versions of sex assault

Nsoni Mpulamasaka

Nsoni Mpulamasaka

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Updated: March 2, 2013 6:53AM

A learning disabled woman went out for a night of karaoke and fun with a group of friends June 16, 2011.

“(That night) ended in pain, fear, blood and misery after being raped by a stranger. That stranger is Nsoni Mpulamasaka,” Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Reginald Mathews said.

Mpulamasaka, 27, of Waukegan, is on trial this week for aggravated criminal sexual assault of the Evanston woman.

The last of the jurors were selected Tuesday and attorneys made their opening statements, laying out two different versions of what happened that June evening.

The woman was out with friends for karaoke night at The Lantern in Lake Forest, Mathews said.

“The defendant was attempting to infiltrate their group. As the group left the parking lot, several friends were planning (to get) a meal at Denny’s in Highland Park. Once again, the defendant infiltrated the group and invited himself to the Denny’s,” Mathews said.

Mpulamasaka joined the woman and her friends for dinner and attempted to get the phone numbers of some of the woman’s friends.

He stayed behind after all the woman’s friends drove away in their vehicles, got inside the woman’s car without being invited and then took advantage of the Evanston woman, Mathews said.

“He told her, ‘Don’t tell anyone’ and drove away. After (the victim) left the parking lot in pain and bleeding, she drove to her mother’s house (in Highland Park),” Mathews said.

The woman wound up driving herself to Evanston Hospital and needed surgery to repair the injuries she incurred from the attack, Mathews said.

Hospital staff did a rape kit and called Highland Park police to investigate.

Mpulamasaka denied to police being at Denny’s or meeting any girls that night, Mathews said. Mpulamasaka was arrested and charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault.

Both the alleged rape victim and Mpulamasaka were married at the time of the incident, defense attorney Jed Stone said.

“You’ll hear from the events of June 16, especially in the context of marriage — they are an embarrassment, but not a crime,” Stone said.

Stone said the woman “invited” his client into her car in the Highland Park Denny’s parking lot.

“You’ll hear how they consented to go into the back of the car. The two of them engaged in sexual intercourse,” Stone said.

Mpulamasaka is a native of Zambia. He came to America from Africa to get a bachelor’s and master’s degree in medical science, Stone said.

Stone said the injury the alleged victim suffered was the kind that sometimes happens with “normal, consensual” sex.

“The injury itself is not evidence of rape,” Stone said.

The trial is expected to continue with evidence and several witnesses this week. Mpulamasaka has been free from custody since he bonded out on $10,000 in June 2011.

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