A Spokane County jury will decide if a 300-pound man brutally raped three prostitutes on the same night last year, or if he’s the victim of thieving women who are trying to frame him.
On trial this week in Superior Court, Charles T. Clugston is accused of attacking the prostitutes on March 27, 1995.
Deputy Prosecutor Carol Davis said the rapes happened separately, from about 7 to 10:15 p.m., in Liberty Park just southeast of downtown Spokane.
Clugston is also charged with attempted second-degree rape for attacking a fourth prostitute that night.
That alleged rape attempt ended when police drove to the park in response to a previous attack call. They saw the woman running toward them.
She told them where Clugston was and police found him hiding near some bushes, Davis said.
Clugston, 31, a former Spokane resident, had just moved back from Montana after leaving his wife.
He told police he picked up the women in his red pickup truck, then drove them to the park.
In his opening statement Tuesday, defense attorney Mark Vovos told jurors Clugston decided to pay the women for sex, then became the victim of a rip-off scheme that led to the rape charges.
That night, while getting ready to leave Spokane for a job in the Tri-Cities, Clugston “took a chance on using a prostitute,” said Vovos, “carrying $500 in his pockets.”
After his encounters with the women, Clugston had less than $25 left, Vovos said.
The women, Vovos argued, all knew each other, used drugs regularly and fabricated their stories.
“They had plenty of time to talk and get their stories straight,” Vovos told the jury.
Davis said Clugston used the same method with all four victims. He met them on a nearby corner, agreed to a price for sex, then asked them one at a time to ride with him to the park.
Once there, he grabbed each victim in a bear hug outside his truck, the prosecutor said. He tripped each of them to force them to the ground, then jumped on them and pulled off their clothes, Davis said.
When he raped them, it was clearly “against their will and with great force,” said Davis. None of the prostitutes were paid.
He grabbed at least one of the women by the neck, Davis said, threatening to kill her if she yelled during the rape.
Three of the women told police they suffered leg and thigh injuries due to the extreme force of the attack.
The four women still live in Spokane and range in age from 19 to 31.
“These are people society doesn’t look on with favor,” Davis told the jury. “I hope you will give them the consideration any other victim deserves.”
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