Plea deal pending in rape case

Paul Mann
Mad River Union

Raul Sierra

Raul Sierra

EUREKA – The prosecution and defense are working jointly to resolve as soon as Wednesday, Aug. 3, the acquaintance rape charge against former Humboldt State University student and football player Raul Sierra IV.

The plea bargain, known in legalese as a resolution, is scheduled for presentation Wednesday, Aug 3 to Superior Court Judge Timothy P. Cissna, who will rule on its validity.

Sierra, 25, a junior at the time of his arrest on Jan. 21, pleaded not guilty to the alleged acquaintance rape “by use of drugs” of HSU student Rigmor Angel Soerensen, 21, of Norway (Union Jan. 27, A1).

The alleged rape occurred in the bedroom of her campus residence hall early last November, after a prolonged drinking party.

Soerensen admitted on the witness stand at a recent preliminary hearing that she was drunk and had blacked out at one point during the evening in question.

A Humboldt State University Police Department sexual assault officer provided evidence that Sierra, too, was drunk.    

Soerensen disclosed her identity voluntarily at the preliminary hearing. Saying much of her memory of the encounter was lost, she testified she was lying on her bed and realized Sierra was lying on top of her.

Soerensen said she remembered holding “both of my hands over my vagina.”

She testified that in a subsequent phone call, supervised by an HSU police sergeant, Sierra admitted having sex with her and apologized for doing so when, in her words, she “was too drunk and didn’t want to.” She testified she had also made it clear to Sierra on prior occasions that she had no sexual interest in him and was seeing another man.

The purported assault followed a drinking party in the Trinity residence hall where Soerensen lived with four roommates.

The prosecutor is Deputy District Attorney Brie Bennett; Sierra’s co-defense counsel is Eureka attorney Beorn Zepp of Rain & Zepp, Inc.

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