It was fair that six women testified about similar sexual assaults by former USU athletes, the Utah Supreme Court ruled

Torrey Green, who wanted a new trial, is serving a prison sentence after a jury convicted him of eight sexual assault charges.

(Pool photo, Chantelle McCall | The Utah Statesman) In this file photo dated March 27, 2019, Torrey Green looks back at his family during his sentencing in Brigham City, Utah. The Utah Supreme Court on Thursday denied Green’s request for a new trial related to reports by six women that he had sexually abused them.

A former Utah State University football player convicted of molesting six women remains in prison after the state Supreme Court denied his request for a new trial.

Torrey Green had argued before the Utah Supreme Court that a jury should never have heard from all six women during a 10-day trial in 2019, saying it was unfair and could have influenced the jury’s decision to award him on eight counts judged. However, in a Thursday ruling, the judges said it was fair game for prosecutors to present the women’s strikingly similar allegations as a means of challenging Green’s claim that the women were using their allegations that they had been sexually abused would have invented.

“Mr. Green questioned the women’s credibility by claiming they lied,” Chief Justice Matthew Durrant wrote, “and Mr. Green’s allegations of multiple similar sexual misconduct corroborated each woman’s story.”

Green is serving a 26-year life sentence since a 2019 jury convicted him of eight counts related to reports by six women who said he sexually abused them between 2013 and 2015 when he was a student at Logan.

Prosecutors filed charges against Green in 2016 for allegedly assaulting seven women. This comes after a Salt Lake Tribune investigative report earlier this year showed how four women told police Green had raped them, and authorities had taken no action up to that point.

Prior to Green’s 2019 trial, a northern Utah judge had ruled that six of the women’s seven allegations shared enough similarities that he allowed them to testify against each other in the trials. After the judge reached that verdict, Green’s trial attorney requested that the six cases be consolidated into a single trial. Green is expected to face trial in September in connection with the seventh woman’s allegations.

In his ruling, First Circuit Judge Brian Cannell found several similarities between their allegations: Four of the alleged victims said they met Green through the dating app Tinder. Six testified that the first time they were attacked alone with the accused at his home.

Five women reported that Green was making a film before the alleged assault. And five said Green told each of them, “She’d enjoy it.” All, the judge wrote, said they verbally and physically communicated to Green that they disagreed.

Prosecutors wanted the jury to hear this testimony to prove Green was a serial rapist and to face his defense that sex was consensual and the women made up their allegations.

Green’s appellate attorneys had argued that the judge made the wrong decision, noting that many of the women’s recollections lack independence because they only reported to police after The Tribune reported it in 2016.

The Utah Supreme Court ruled that Cannell made no mistake in allowing all six women to testify, and he also made no mistake in having prosecutors provide corroborating testimony from friends and family members of each woman who presented to the jury of times prior to 2016, Tribune reported reporting when she told them Green attacked her.

This was an attempt to show independence from one another – although some of the women did not report to the police until later, the victims had told those closest to them that they had been raped. Prosecutors also showed the jury a poem and a college essay written by two of the victims describing sexual assault and written years before the Tribune article. Attorneys for both sides also agreed to show the jury a summary of the Tribune’s coverage of Green’s case.

Green’s appellate attorneys argue that this is all “hearsay” evidence that should never have been admitted at trial and damaged his case. The Supreme Court ruled this week that it was fair for the jury to hear this evidence, since Green had accused the women of lying about him in order to garner media attention or possibly money, since he was a pro with the Atlanta Falcons. There was time playing football when the Tribune article was published. Shortly after the report, he was kicked out of the team.

The Utah Supreme Court also dismissed the argument that prosecutors made inappropriate racist remarks.

Green is black and all its victims were white. His appeals attorneys argue that prosecutors made statements at the trial that created racial stereotypes that implied that black men were “animalistic” and “sexually unrestrained.”

They argue in his appeal that prosecutors portrayed the women as young and naïve, while he was portrayed as a large, dangerous predator preying on young women. According to his lawyers, he was in his early 20s, while most of the women were 18 or 19.

Green’s attorneys argued that it was inappropriate for a prosecutor to tell the jury in his closing argument that Green was a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and that his home, where the sexual assault took place, was his “hiding place.”

But the judges found those statements were “stray innuendos” that never developed into “a clear racist issue.”

Justin Scaccy

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