SNOW HILL – A Seaford, Del. man accused of first-degree rape and first-degree assault for allegedly raping his former girlfriend at knifepoint and gunpoint at a downtown Ocean City residence last March was officially cleared of all of the charges this week after a two-day trial.
Juan Vicente-Morales, 33, of Seaford, appeared in Circuit Court this week facing several serious charges including first-degree rape and first-degree assault for an incident that allegedly occurred last March at an apartment on 12th Street in Ocean City. After a lengthy two-day trial, a Circuit Court jury deliberated for about two hours on Tuesday before returning not guilty verdicts in what essentially boiled down to a case of “he said, she said.”
On March 12, Ocean City Police were dispatched to an apartment on Baltimore Ave. near 12th Street in response to a complaint from a woman who said she had just been sexually assaulted. According to police reports, the alleged victim had returned home from work to find her ex-boyfriend, Vicente-Morales, waiting for her in her apartment.
The victim told police Vicente-Morales was holding a rifle and a large knife, which he used to threaten her. He allegedly pointed the gun at the victim and told her he was going to have sex with her, then ripped off her shirt and threatened to scar her with the knife if she did not cooperate. The victim told police Vicente-Morales forced her onto a bed and raped her, while threatening to kill her if she went to the police.
The victim was transported to Atlantic General Hospital while resort police conducted surveillance on the residence in hopes the suspect would return. Around 6 p.m. that same evening, Morales did return and he was arrested without incident.
On Tuesday in Circuit Court, the jury was given the case after two days of testimony during which defense attorney Dave Gaskill portrayed the victim as a spurned ex-girlfriend bent on getting revenge.
“My defense was that she concocted this entire story to get back at my client,” he said. “He had recently broken up with her and was no longer going to support her.”
Gaskill enlisted the services of local private investigators to help with the defense.
“Without the help of Peninsula Professional Services, trying this case would have been much more difficult,” he said.