A Beebe Healthcare sexual assault nurse who examined Clay Conaway’s accuser about two hours after her alleged rape said there were no visible marks or bruising when the woman came to the emergency department.
Testifying Sept. 19 in Sussex County Superior Court, Dana Morris, a registered nurse and sexual assault coordinator with Beebe, said she examined the woman from head-to-toe for about four hours.
There was “no bruising or laceration,” Morris said. When the woman was discharged from Beebe, Morris said, “the patient rates pain as zero out of 10.” A pain score of zero is the lowest level of pain.
On Sept. 18, under questioning by an attorney for the defense, the woman accusing Conaway of first-degree rape said she laughed with a friend of hers about explicit photos Conaway sent her, and she knew he was looking for a casual relationship.
The 21-year-old Millsboro woman spoke in a calm, steady voice, but at times her head shook up and down in a nervous fashion as she told Conaway’s attorney, Natalie Woloshin, about events leading up to their first meeting June 20, 2018 - the day of the alleged rape.
Woloshin asked her about playful texts she exchanged with a friend about Conaway after he sent her a full frontal naked photo about three weeks before the day she met him.
“You were laughing your ass off, right?” asked Woloshin, referring to lmfao and hahaha comments included in the texts that indicate the women thought the photo was funny. The woman answered yes.
In a text to her friend who told her to drop him from her social media account, she said, “I’ll keep him, but now I know what he’s on Bumble for.” The woman met Conaway on dating site Bumble - a site in which women initiate contact with men.
After communicating briefly with Conaway on the Bumble site, the woman gave him her Snapchat information to communicate. Snapchat is a social media program that deletes photos after 10 seconds and deletes messages after they’ve been read, unless the user saves them.
About an hour after receiving the nude photo of Conaway, the woman texted her friend about going over to Conaway’s house at some point in the future. Texts also show the woman didn’t want a serious relationship, and she was unsure why a University of Delaware baseball player would be interested in her.
“It seemed like he had other people to choose from, not me,” she said.
Testimony, however, ended Sept. 18 after Sussex County Superior Court Judge Richard F. Stokes said he received a complaint that someone in the media had taken a picture in the courthouse. No further information was provided about that accusation.
“If a violation comes to my attention, you’ll be barred from that courtroom,” he said.
Witness recalls attack
Deputy Attorney General Rebecca Anderson finished her questioning of the woman with explicit details of the alleged rape. The woman was calm and composed as she recalled driving to Conaway’s home in Georgetown where he lives in a garage apartment behind his parents’ home. Upon arrival, she said, they went into his bedroom and sat on his bed to watch a movie. She testified she said nothing as he removed her tube top, shorts and thong underwear, but she said everything was moving quickly.
“I immediately asked him what he was doing, and reminded him I was on my period,” she said, adding she told him she didn’t want to have sex.
She said Conaway told her everything was OK, and they were just messing around, but he was aggressive and got on top of her.
“I started to feel like I couldn’t breathe, and started to cry,” she said. “I couldn’t handle it.”
Taking a break, she said, Conaway checked his phone, called his mother but then returned to his bed and pulled her on top of him. “I freaked out again and asked for my clothes back,” she said.
He then put out his arm and told her there was no need to leave. “I feared he could hurt me,” said the woman, who is 5-feet-3-inches tall and 105 pounds compared to Conaway’s 6-foot-3-inch frame at 215 pounds.
At one point, she said, he put his hand in the middle of her neck and she feared he might choke her, even though she could still breathe. “That’s when I really felt like I wasn’t safe,” she said.
She said he grabbed her hair, pulling her head back, and eventually took her knees and pinned them up by her shoulders while having sex with her. “I felt like I couldn’t do anything. I felt like I couldn’t leave,” she said.
She said she finally pretended to enjoy the sex acts so he would stop. “I faked an orgasm,” she said, because it seemed like that would be the only thing to make him stop.
Shortly after the sex concluded, she said, he told her she needed to leave because he was going to the gym. She said she went to her car and cried. She then called friends, meeting one who drove her to Beebe Healthcare for a rape exam. Two days later, she said, she returned to Beebe for hip pain, and a doctor diagnosed her with strained hips. She said she took ibuprofen for the pain.
The trial is expected to run through Wednesday, Sept. 25, with testimony expected from Conaway and expert witnesses.
Conaway was indicted by a grand jury in August 2018 on a charge of first-degree rape. After his arrest, five other women came forward with charges including second-degree rape and strangulation. This is the first of six trials that will be held, after Judge Richard F. Stokes granted a request by defense attorneys Woloshin and Joe Hurley to separate the trials instead of holding a single trial on all criminal counts.
Editor’s note: It is the Cape Gazette’s policy to not publish names of sexual assault victims.