BY JOE GYAN JR.
Advocate staff writer
August 20, 2012
A judge convicted on Friday the former owner of the now-defunct House of Blues Club on Airline Highway of raping an intoxicated 18-year-old woman in a private room at the club in 2009.
State District Judge Mike Erwin, who presided over the week-long bench trial, ordered a pre-sentence investigation and said he will sentence Leonard Ray Douglas, 50, on Dec. 6. The judge set a $25,000 post-conviction bond.
Simple rape, for which Douglas was tried and found guilty, carries a sentence of up to 25 years in prison.
“Justice was done,” prosecutor Sue Bernie said after the verdict, labeling the victim as “very brave.”
Chris Alexander, one of Douglas’ attorneys, said the verdict was “contrary to the evidence.
“Obviously we disagree with the verdict. We will appeal it,” he said.
Bernie told Erwin in her closing argument that the victim was “highly intoxicated” when she was raped at about 1:45 a.m. on July 29, 2009.
“She was not in any condition to consent,” the prosecutor argued. “It was not her decision to get raped, but it was his choice to take advantage of this highly intoxicated 18-year-old.”
Alexander questioned the victim’s account, suggesting she fabricated the rape allegation because she was “embarrassed” by her own conduct that night. He also countered that she could not be believed in such an intoxicated state.
“I think it defies logic and common sense,” Alexander told the judge. “I don’t believe it happened this way.”
Bernie called that argument “preposterous” and said, “This isn’t about embarrassment.
“But it’s typical to blame the victim,” she added.