Witness: I said no to accused rapist, then passed out

A sixth alleged rape victim of Jeffrey Marsalis told a Common Pleas jury yesterday that she cried out, "No, no, no!" when he tried to take her clothes off in his Center City apartment.

"That day, I had started my menstrual cycle," the woman testified at Marsalis' trial on rape charges. "He reached down and he took it [my tampon] out and threw it across the room."

She then blacked out, she said.

The woman, a stunning blonde who lived in Exeter, Pa., said she next recalled, "I was in his bed, lying flat, and he was on top of me. He was having sex with me."

Prosecutors contend that Marsalis, 34, who lived in the Metropolitan Apartments on 15th Street near Arch, drugged, then raped seven women, six of whom he had met on Match.com, from 2003 to 2005. Defense attorneys argue that the women consented to sex after drinking alcohol and that there was no evidence of their having been drugged.

The Exeter woman, then 33, met Marsalis on Match.com. They agreed to meet on a Friday night in June 2004. She ended up staying at his apartment until the Sunday after.

They went to Tir Na Nog, an Irish pub in Center City. She had two beers and a mixed-drink shot. During that time, she went to the restroom, leaving her beer.

Marsalis told her he was a doctor at Hahnemann University Hospital and that he had been accepted into a NASA training program, she said.

Sometime after the drinks, she "felt dizzy, hot, nauseous," she said. "I went to the restroom and fell on all fours." She threw up.

She then remembered parts of that night, including when Marsalis "started kissing me," she testified. Asked by Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Bretschneider if she wanted Marsalis to have sex with her, she testified "no."

In his bed, she also recalled "he attempted to have anal intercourse with me," but stopped after she told him it hurt.

Marsalis also "put his penis in my mouth," she said.

When she awoke Saturday afternoon, she testified, she was "confused." She showered and had an iced tea in his apartment.

Marsalis showed her photos of him on his laptop, including in a graduation gown and scrubs. He also showed her, she said, a photo of an ex-girlfriend sitting naked on a toilet, bent over with her head in her hands as if she were sick. "I keep that for blackmail purposes," Marsalis told her, she testified. She said she thought his comment "was like a joke."

Later they went to the Reading Terminal Market to eat. Afterwards, she said, she felt sick again and vomited in the bathroom there.

Back at his place, she felt "very tired. I was having trouble keeping my eyes open," she testified.

Marsalis suggested they take a nap, she said. Later on, she testified that she could tell they had had sex, although she did not recall it.

She left his apartment Sunday feeling "embarrassed" partly because of the menstrual blood on his sheets, she said.

"To try to make amends," she testified, "to close it out, I bought him a new set of sheets and towels" at T.J. Maxx. "I put it in a box and sent it to him."

A male friend of the alleged victim testified that she had asked him to look at Marsalis' Match.com profile before she met Marsalis. He told the jury he had advised her: "I said right off the bat, 'He looks like a freak.' " *