Stripper to testify in rape hearing

It will be up to a jury to decide between the word of a stripper and the Newton Falls man she accused of rape after he became infatuated with her.

The 20-year-old single mother of one, who worked as an exotic dancer at Chaser’s in Rootstown and then Club 76 in Austintown, is scheduled to testify today in the courtroom of Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Peter Kontos.

Attorney John Juhasz, who represents Jeffrey L. Town, 48, of Tioga Street, Newton Falls, claims only consensual sex occurred in his apartment Dec. 11, 2006.

‘‘It was a consensual sexual relationship. Maybe a little weird, but nonetheless...’’ Juhasz said in his opening statements after a jury was seated Tuesday afternoon.

Town faces charges of kidnapping, gross sexual imposition and three counts of rape.

Tanya Bier, another dancer who worked with the victim at both locations, told jurors Tuesday, ‘‘He would come in and pay so she wouldn’t have to dance. He would pay her to smoke even though she didn’t smoke.

‘‘He said he loved her and wanted to take care of her and her daughter.’’

Bier also described a frantic friend who was crying and screaming hysterically, the night in question.

‘‘I told her don’t take a shower and go to the hospital,’’ she said.

The victim’s mother and brother of Brimfield also testified briefly, describing the same frantic woman, who finally wound up there before her brother took her to Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna, where Newton Falls police took a report.

County Assistant Prosecutor David Toepfer told the panel of seven men and five women that the victim, who went by the nickname of Roxy, was bruised around the mouth when Town grabbed her from behind, and that she had marks around her wrists where she was tied with duct tape.

Toepfer also describe a cut on the hand of the dancer, where he said Town pulled a knife and threatened the woman, slightly wounding her. A grand jury declined to indict Town on a charge of felonious assault based on the wound.

Toepfer said he has DNA evidence even though Juhasz doesn’t dispute the two had sex when she came to his apartment to clean and earn extra money to pay him for a car she had been borrowing and intended to buy.

Jurors hearing the case will not be informed that Town also faces an enhancement on his charges that he was a repeat violent offender with a prior conviction in the mid-1980s for kidnapping and felonious assault. Toepfer declined to comment on the prior conviction and the judge only would consider it at sentencing if Town is convicted.