A sometime prostitute who alleges she was sexually assaulted by an on-duty Riverside Police Department officer testified today he never threatened her, but she felt she had no choice but to comply with his request for sex.
“I was like, ‘This is so unreal. This isn’t happening,’” said the witness, identified only as Nadia. She is one of three women alleging former Riverside police Officer Robert A. Forman demanded sexual favors.
The 39-year-old defendant, who was terminated from the police force shortly after his arrest in October 2008, is charged with two counts of forced oral copulation and one count of sexual battery. He is free on a $50,000 bond.
Nadia testified that she knew Forman from several prior encounters, and he had never hassled or busted her for openly using drugs, typically crack cocaine.
The witness, a convicted felon currently serving time for robbery, prostituted herself to earn money to buy drugs, according to trial testimony.
She said that sometime in March 2008, Forman ran into her while on patrol in downtown Riverside. The witness said she was using crack at the time, but was not fearful of being arrested by the 12-year law enforcement veteran, even after he told her to get into the back of his patrol unit.
According to Nadia, Forman appeared to be “high” and handed her a bag of methamphetamine. The woman said the officer drove her into a dimly lit, tree-lined area — possibly a park — where he stopped the patrol car.
Nadia said Forman walked around to the rear of the vehicle, opened the door, unzipped his pants and indicated he wanted to be copulated.
According to the woman, she performed oral sex on the defendant and immediately became frightened of what might happen next.
“Why didn’t you leave? Why didn’t you refuse this officer?” asked Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Elan Ben Zektser.
“It didn’t seem acceptable to do that at that time,” she replied.
“Did the fact that he was a cop … have anything to do with your complying with his request to put his penis in your mouth?” asked Zekster.
“Of course it did,” she said.
Nadia testified the officer drove her back to the downtown area, then went to an ATM and withdrew $50, which he gave to her after instructing her not to discuss what had taken place.
On cross-examination, defense attorney Mark Johnson spotlighted apparent inconsistencies between the woman’s testimony and what she told investigators.
The attorney questioned why Nadia remembered Forman saying, “How about some head?” while telling detectives in earlier interviews that the officer just stuck “it in my face” without saying a word.
Johnson also questioned the woman about her contact with Forman later that same night and what she did with the money Forman allegedly gave her.
Nadia said she likely used the cash to purchase crack, but didn’t exclude the possibility that Forman actually gave her the $50 to set up a drug deal so the defendant and a fellow officer could make an arrest. She acknowledged talking with Forman later that night on University Avenue.
“If you’re giving us different versions of what happened, how do we know which version to believe?” asked Johnson.
“The more I talk about it, the more I remember,” she responded.
Johnson suggested the woman was trying to “help the state make its case,” but she denied tailoring her testimony.
A woman named Kathryn testified last week that Forman sexually assaulted her at her Mission Inn Avenue apartment.
According to the woman, the alleged April 18, 2008, encounter occurred a few hours after Forman and other officers searched her residence following a domestic disturbance complaint.