Versailles bar owner cleared of 2 counts, will stand trial on other sex charges
A Versailles bar owner was cleared of two sexual offenses on Monday but still will stand trial on five related counts.
White Oak Magisterial District Judge Thomas G. Miller Jr. dismissed charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion and rape by forcible compulsion against Todd A. Arthrell, 42, of Versailles.
But he held Arthrell for trial on other counts of rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, as well as three assault counts, in the case of a 26-year-old acquaintance.
“I told him I did not want to do anything,” the woman testified about events in the early hours of Feb. 20 at Arthrell's The Bridge Tap House & Grille along Walnut Street. “I told him I was intoxicated and didn't want to do anything with him.”
In direct examination by Allegheny County Assistant District Attorney Aaron McKendry, the woman admitted to a previous sexual relationship with Arthrell. She said she had drinks at the Versailles bar beginning on Feb. 19 around 10:30 p.m.
“He asked me if I wanted to stay afterward,” the woman said. “I said yes but (wanted) nothing sexual.”
She said she thought Arthrell wanted to talk with her about a benefit for her brother, who had died two weeks before.
“I believed him because he had a can out there,” the woman said.
Instead, she testified, Arthrell plied her with more drinks.
“I don't remember much after that,” she said. “I just remember being in the back room on a pool table and Todd being on top of me.”She testified that Arthrell then forced her to perform oral sex.
Arthrell's attorney William H. Difenderfer said he thought it ridiculous that the sex that occurred was not consensual. He repeatedly tried to shake the woman's claim that Arthrell took advantage of her.
“You took your clothes off, right?” Difenderfer asked.
“That question had been asked and answered,” McKendry objected.
Miller overruled the objection and the woman answered, “I don't believe I helped him.”
Miller said McKendry presented a prima facie case for two felony counts of sexual assault and one of misdemeanor indecent assault, as well as rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse of an unconscious woman, both felonies.
“I wish that credibility was a factor at these hearings,” Difenderfer told reporters as he and Arthrell left Miller's court.
Arthrell is free on 10 percent of $20,000 bond and awaits formal arraignment on May 22.
“She has been receiving comments from third parties on behalf of the defendant,” McKendry said.
Difenderfer said he has instructed his client not to have any contact with the woman “and he will be instructed again.”
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967.
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