Policeman testifies in own defense in sex assault trial

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MUSCATINE, Iowa-A former Muscatine police officer took the stand in his own defense today and told the jury he may be a cheater, but is not a rapist.

Tom Tovar testified Wednesday afternoon. He is charged with sexual abuse in the third degree, accused of sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman after driving her back to her hotel room shortly after her boyfriend had been arrested and taken to jail.

Tovar told the jury the woman came onto him, and the two flirted in the squad car en route to her hotel room.

"I did not force her to engage in sex," he testified.

Tovar admitted turning off his department-issued body microphone and squad car camera during his 13  unaccounted-for minutes in the hotel.

"I was trying to cover up my tracks. I didn't want to lose my  job over it. I was just trying to hide my affair," he said.

"I didn't want the police to know and I didn't want my family to find out," he said.

The woman Shari Martin, says she was out of it, and woke up the next day naked and lying on top of the bedspread.  She testified she had been so intoxicated she didn't remember anything  except a foggy flashback of "a policeman laying on top of me."

Prosecutors showed squad car video of Martin stumbling into Tovar's squad car for the short ride to the hotel.

Tovar's DNA was found in the bed and on Martin's pants.

The trial will continue Thursday.


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