HOUSTON— In her second day of testimony, the woman accusing an ex-Houston cop of rape said she was so distraught in the days following the incident that she tried to take her own life.
"I tried to commit suicide," she said. "I was desperate and I was in my aunt’s bedroom. And desperately, I called the crisis hotline. And immediately the police arrived and they took me to the hospital."
The 37-year-old woman spent several days in the hospital being treated for depression before she was released.
The El Salvadoran immigrant, speaking with the help of an interpreter during her testimony, told the jury in graphic detail Wednesday that Abraham Joseph handcuffed her and took her to a central southwest Houston park and repeatedly sexually assaulted her.
The woman testified that she was terrified.
"I thought I would never see my children again, that they wouldn’t know what happened to me," she said. "I thought he was going to kill me. He looked angry. The more you would beg him the more he would hurt me."
She sobbed as she turned toward Joseph and said "and that’s when he started touching my breasts, do you remember? Do you remember when you did that to me," she said pointing toward the ex-cop.
"He ruined my life," she cried.
Judge Denise Collins had to temporarily halt the proceedings Wednesday afternoon so the woman could compose herself.
After the incident, the woman alleges Joseph dropped her off near where she worked at the El Diamante nightclub and put his finger to his lips as if to tell her to keep quiet. The woman and members of her family reported the incident two hours later.
Joseph, 27, was indicted for sexual assault and the Houston Police Department fired him.
Prosecutors say Joseph used his position as a police officer to target the victim because she spoke little English and was afraid her immigration status would be threatened if she reported the assault.
Defense attorney Nicole DeBorde began cross-examination of the alleged rape victim just after 11 a.m. Thursday. DeBorde alleges that the sexual encounter was consensual.
"Each of the little pieces of this story that she has spent time telling to this jury need to be dissected so that the jury can decide for themselves what parts of those stories are true and what parts are not and if she is in fact capable of saying something that is not true," DeBorde said.
If convicted, Joseph could get up to life in prison.