Witness: Woman claimed she couldn't fight off Cleaves

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Flint — The woman who has accused Mateen Cleaves of raping her told a witness “I couldn’t fight him. I just laid there” during sex with the former professional athlete, a witness testified Wednesday.

The allegations were made Wednesday during the second day of testimony in the former Michigan State University basketball star’s preliminary hearing.

The witness, Coleen Dowdall, testified most of Tuesday and returned to the stand Wednesday in 67th District Court in Flint.

Also testifying Wednesday was a nurse who is sexual-assault examiner at a Flint-area hospital who examined the woman several hours after the alleged assault. The nurse said the woman told her Cleaves forced himself on her but also that there was kissing and other sexual contact between her and Cleaves.

While the alleged victim did not consider the encounter violent, she said she considered it a sexual assault, said Michelle Most, Genesys Regional Medical Center nurse.

“He tried to kiss me. I just gave up. He gives our organization a lot of money,” Most said Cleaves’ accuser told her. “I remember my clothes (were) off ... him on top of me, I think he had a condom, I pushed him off, rolled off the bed and ran outside,” Most said, continuing to testify about what she said the woman told her. “I fell trying to run. He tried to grab me.”

Most said the woman told her she didn’t remember if there was penetration but that “I kissed him a little bit.” During cross-examination by Cleaves’ defense attorney Frank Manley, Most said there were no injuries to the vaginal area and that there were no marks or injuries on the woman’s body. She said scrapes and red marks could have been caused by something else and not from a sexual assault.

Most said the woman told her she had consumed six beers and some shots.

Manley then told the nurse: “I don’t see (in the report) where (the alleged victim) said ‘no’ in here. There’s no ‘no’ in here.”

Manley later said Most might “have an ax to grind” because she filed a formal complaint against the Mundy Township police officer who took statements from the woman at the hospital. The officer, Brian Ogle, has since filed a lawsuit against the Police Department, alleging his superiors were trying to get him to portray Cleaves as guilty.

Earlier, Dowdall testified that Cleaves’ accuser never told her she had been raped by him.

“You asked this woman if she had sex. At some point in time, she said she had sex with Mr. Cleaves. She never said rape, did she?,” asked Manley. “She said sex. She never said forced (sex). Sex can mean consensual sex.”

Later, under questioning by Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Lisa Lindsey, the witness, who lives at the motel where the alleged sex assault took place, testified that the accuser told her, “‘I couldn’t fight him. I just laid there and took it’ cause she couldn’t fight him off.”

Dowdall also testified the alleged victim told police she did not want criminal charges pressed against Cleaves. She also said she never saw Cleaves choke or punch his alleged victim after seeing him forcibly pulling the woman into a Flint-area motel room last year.

Cleaves told his alleged victim three times that she was naked as he tried to get her back in to the motel room Sept. 15, 2015. Dowdall, under questioning by Lindsey, said Cleaves was naked both times she saw him outside her motel door with the woman.

Dowdall also admitted she was not certain if the woman was hysterical and screaming when she allegedly came begging for help at Dowdall’s motel room, because the woman was allegedly extremely drunk.

Cleaves is charged in connection with allegations that he raped a woman at a Munday Township motel last year after a charity golf outing.

On Tuesday, Dowdall testified she saw Cleaves pulling and dragging the 24-year-old woman into his room. Dowdall quoted the woman as pleading “ Help me. Help me. Help me.”

“She was just crying hysterically,” said Dowdall, who was staying at the Knights Inn on Grand Blanc Road when the woman allegedly came looking for help. “She asked me to call 911. I said I’m talking to them now.”

Dowdall said the woman looked scared and frightened and was slightly injured.

“Her knees were scraped up with a little blood (on them),” Dowdall testified before Judge Cathy Dowd.

“She wasn’t saying anything (and) she cried a long, long time,” Dowdall said.

Testimony was scheduled to continue Thursday, but was adjourned until Dec. 1 and 2 because of a death in Manley's family. The woman is expected to testify during the preliminary examination.

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