New trial date set in rape case for past Linfield student

Jonathan Williams, Editor-in-Chief

A trial date for a former Linfield student who was charged with rape and related crimes last September has been moved to January 2016, according to recent court filings.

Diego Garza, a student at Linfield prior to his expulsion from the college this spring, faces charges of rape in the first degree, two counts of sodomy in the first degree, one count of sexual abuse in the first degree and two counts of unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree.

On May 13, the victim’s lawyers, Carol J. Fredrick of Fredrick and Finch and Cynthia Kaufman Noble filed a motion to quash or modify eight pre-trial subpoenas issued by Garza’s lawyers, Andrew D. Coit and the law firm of Cohen and Coit, P.C.

The court heard oral argument on June 9 of the motions made on May 13. Garza was represented by Coit and Richard D. Cohen, the prosecution was represented by Yamhill deputy district attorney Amanda Dresen and the victim was represented by Fredrick.

Yamhill County Judge Cynthia Easterday denied the victim’s motion to quash and permitted Garza’s lawyers to issue subpoenas for information and evidence relevant to the case for private review by the court.

On June 15, Garza’s lawyers filed a motion for a continuance of Garza’s trial, which had been set for July 7. In the document, Coit asserted that, “additional time is needed to review discovery, conduct investigation, and prepare the case.”

After receiving a subpoena from Garza’s lawyers, Linfield College attorney John N. McKeegan motioned to quash or modify the subpoena on June 19. McKeegan stated in a court document that the subpoena should be modified because, “It is overbroad, unduly burdensome to the college and would force the college to disclose information contained in records protected by the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act.”

Also on June 19, Garza’s lawyers issued a memorandum of information.

In the memorandum, they asserted that, “The victim’s statements are inconsistent to whether she was consuming alcohol prior to arriving at Garza’s apartment.” They also claims that Garza says the sexual contact was entirely consensual, which contrasts with the victim who says the contact was “forceful and not consensual.”

The document states, “The victim’s statements change depending on whom she is telling the story to and include inconsistencies about what happened to her, how well she knew Garza, and how much she had to drink that night.”

Garza’s lawyers note in the document that partial medical records of the victim assert that the victim has a long-standing diagnosis of a condition in which sexual intercourse often becomes painful, which Garza’s lawyers say is relevant to the case because “[the records] explain the pain the victim suffered during the sexual contact.”

Garza’s lawyers also note that the victim did not disclose her medical conditions to Garza prior to their sexual contact.

They also say in the document that other medical records reveal that the victim suffers from depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and additionally has to take mood and memory altering drugs to treat her conditions.

The document asserts that the victim “previously alleged that she was the victim of a sexual assault during her freshman year at Linfield College that was not prosecuted.”

Garza’s lawyers state that these records are relevant to their client’s case because “they explain the victim’s personality disorder, emotional instability and need to seek attention.” Garza’s lawyers also note that the mix of alcohol with her drugs would explain the victim’s mixed reactions after the incident occurred.

At a July 16 hearing, on Linfield’s motion to quash or modify the ordered subpoena, the parties present were district attorney Dresen, the victim’s lawyers Fredrick and Noble, Garza’s lawyer Cohen, and McKeegan representing Linfield. Garza participated by phone.

At that hearing, a trial date was set for Garza. A two-week trial was scheduled to begin on Jan. 25, with a 12-person jury. A trial readiness date was set for Jan. 20.

On July 23, Judge Easterday modified Linfield’s motion to quash the subpoena.

The subpoena was modified to limit its scope to relevant materials from the Linfield Administration, staff and records.

The subpoena may include information from Linfield College Public Safety, student conduct and disciplinary hearings as well as medical and/or mental health treatment facilitated or encouraged by Linfield for the victim, according to Easterday’s order.

The subpoena may also include “all statements of the victim documented by the college relating to Garza and her complaint against an individual alleged to have sexually assaulted her during her freshman year.”

It may also contain any documentation of medical treatment, consultation or counseling received by the victim at Linfield on the recommendation of the college for medical treatment after August 1, 2011, according to the judge’s order.