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Man guilty of abusing incapacitated woman

A jury has found an Ashland man guilty of entering a woman's home, sexually abusing her while she was physically helpless and taking photographs of her genitals, but didn't find him guilty of causing her to ingest Ambien, a sedative used to treat insomnia.

Sean Geoffrey Myers, 49, was convicted this week of first-degree sodomy, first-degree sexual abuse, three counts of first-degree burglary and invasion of personal privacy after a five-day trial.

His sentencing was postponed until May 29 after his defense attorney, Howard Grooters, asked for time to have a psychological report completed to look for any mitigating factors — such as post-traumatic stress disorder — that could be taken into account.

In a 2017 letter to a judge complaining about a string of defense lawyers who withdrew from his case, Myers said he is a former Marine and a disabled combat veteran.

Jackson County Deputy District Attorney David Orr, who prosecuted the case, said Myers and the woman were an estranged couple at the time of the March 10, 2015, incident.

Information from Myers' phone showed he had been outside her home at night before the incident, Orr said.

Myers texted the woman, asking to come over and talk like adults. He offered to bring a bottle of wine. The woman wasn't comfortable having him in the house, but said they could talk on the porch, Orr said.

Before they met, Myers texted a friend, saying he was going to deploy weapons of mass destruction. He also texted a friend about Ambien, and did a Google search about the sedative, Orr said.

On the evening they met, Myers poured two glasses of port into two different types of glasses. After drinking the port, the woman began to feel ill and went to bed. She woke up later than usual the next day feeling groggy, Orr said.

She looked at her phone and saw photographs of her genitals on it, plus a message from Myers saying he didn't know why she had sent him the photos. Past text messages between the two had been deleted from her phone, Orr said.

The woman went to a hospital and underwent a rape kit, in which evidence of sexual assault is collected. Semen that was later matched to Myers was collected via a body cavity swab. Her urine also had Ambien in it, Orr said.

A search of Myers' phone revealed the graphic photos of the woman. The night of the sexual abuse, he had also transferred text messages between the woman and her boyfriend from her phone to his own phone, Orr said.

One of Myers' female roommates said a container of Ambien she had stored in a freezer was missing, Orr said.

For his defense, Myers claimed he and the woman both got drunk and he didn't want to drive home intoxicated. He claimed she allowed him in the house, where he took a shower, masturbated, put on his clothes and then snuggled with her in a spooning position while she slept.

The defense's argument was that semen on his clothes may have gotten on the woman.

Myers admitted to taking photos of her genitals while she was unconscious, but said that was all he had done, Orr said.

The defense argued the woman may have drugged Myers or otherwise tampered with the glasses of port.

The jurors voted unanimously on verdicts of guilty for the sodomy, sexual abuse, burglary and invasion of personal privacy charges, according to court records. Two jurors voted guilty, and 10 jurors voted not guilty on the charge of causing another person to ingest Ambien, a controlled substance.

Six defense attorneys withdrew from Myers' case prior to it going to trial, citing reasons that included a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship and a conflict of interest, court records show.

Orr said the whole ordeal for the woman, from the initial crime through invasive questioning in the trial, has lasted three years.

"I have a great deal of admiration for her to stick through it from beginning to end," he said.

— Reach staff reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.

Sean Geoffrey Myers