On September 10, 2002, an 18-year-old man told police he had been sexually assaulted the night before by George Walls, a man with whom he had been living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The victim told police that Walls demanded sex and when he refused, he was raped. He went for medical treatment but was not treated. He then called police.
When questioned by police, Walls, 39, said they engaged in consensual sex and that he was in love with the victim. He said that he was the victim’s supervisor at a cleaning company and when the victim had a disagreement with his parents, he allowed the victim to move in with him.
Walls was charged with sexual assault, false imprisonment, indecent assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.
At trial, the victim testified that Walls raped him and that he was bleeding extensively from his anus. However, hospital records showed no such evidence. The examining physician's notes said that the victim was laughing and joking.
The prosecution and defense stipulated that Walls’ DNA was found on the victim’s underwear.
Walls testified that the victim did not object to having sex and that they had engaged in sex on previous occasions. He told the jury that the victim needed money for a car and they had reached an agreement whereby the victim would have sex with him in exchange for Walls helping him buy a car.
After they had sex on the night of the alleged assault, Walls testified, they ate dinner together and got ready to leave for work. An argument erupted when the victim demanded the money for the car and said he agreed to have sex just for money, not because he had any affection for Walls. Walls said he ordered the victim out of the apartment.
On September 15, 2003, an Allegheny County Common Pleas Court jury convicted Walls of indecent assault and sexual assault. He was acquitted of the other charges and was sentenced to five to 10 years in prison.
After a series of appeals, Walls, who has a hearing problem, won a hearing on a motion for new trial alleging that his trial attorney had provided inadequate legal assistance for failing to engage an interpreter so that he could understand the testimony, for failing to introduce records of several telephone calls the victim made to him in the 24 hour period after the alleged attack and for failing to seek a jury instruction on the issue of consent.
Walls contended the telephone calls were relevant because they tended to disprove the victim’s claim the sex was not consensual.
On February 11, 2011, Common Pleas Court Judge Kathleen Durkin vacated the conviction and ordered a new trial, ruling that Walls’ case was prejudiced because his trial lawyer did not seek a jury instruction on the issue of consent.
On May 10, 2011, the Allegheny District Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges. Walls was released on May 20, 2011.
– Maurice Possley