Spokane Superior Court Judge Annette Plese spoke slowly and clearly Friday as she communicated rape and kidnapping charges through a Polish translator.
Wearing yellow jail suits, Waclaw Kieltyka and Michal Lysejko, members of Polish metal band Decapitated, listened to the charges during their first court appearance in Spokane County. They stand accused of gang raping a woman on their tour bus Aug. 31, following a show at The Pin in downtown Spokane.
All four of the band’s members were arrested in Los Angeles on Sept. 9 and subsequently charged on Oct. 12.
Decapitated’s other two members, lead singer Rafal Piotrowski and bassist Hubert Wiecek, are scheduled for a first court appearance Oct. 19 in Spokane. Piatrowski is charged with second-degree rape and Wiecek is charge with third-degree rape.
On Friday, Kieltyka, 35, the band’s guitarist, was charged with first-degree kidnapping and second-degree rape. Lysejko, a 27-year-old drummer, was charged with first-degree kidnapping and third-degree rape.
Kieltyka and Lysejko’s bonds were set at $100,000 and both men were ordered to surrender their passports to their attorneys.
Plese also ordered no communication between the band members. Kieltyka’s attorney, Stephen Graham, said that restriction would be deemed inhumane by international law.
“If they are kept apart they, in essence, will be held in solitary confinement,” Graham said. “Because they don’t speak English very well.”
Graham noted that the men had already been together for a month following their arrest in California.
The prosecution noted that Kieltyka and Lyesejko had no criminal history in America but don’t know of their criminal history in Europe.
Decapitated, which has over 676,000 Facebook fans and 95,000 Twitter followers, released a statement early Friday morning, the band’s first social media activity since Sept. 8.
“We’d like to emphasize; the Spokane Police Department has pressed charges as procedural formality, without doing so, they would be forced to release the band – this is not a conviction or any indication of guilt or innocence. Once again, we ask that everyone wait for each party’s case to be presented and await the court’s decision. With that said, whilst cases are being prepared on both sides, some facts are indisputable at this point – that the original officer who took the complaint from the accuser stated, ‘I do not have probable cause that a rape occurred’, and it’s taken a full 30 days to file charges, which is right up against the point at which the defendants would legally have had to be released.”
“The band firmly refutes the allegations and is confident that once the facts and evidence have been seen and heard, they will be released and able to return home,” the statement reads.
The band, which has been active since 1996, has seven albums, and is described by music magazine The Alternative Pressas as “one of death metal’s elite bands.”
According to court documents, two women told police they were invited onto the tour bus following the show. The alleged victim of the rape said that, after talking for some time, she went into the bus’ bathroom where she was “grabbed and spun around to where she was facing the sink and mirror in the bathroom,” and subsequently raped by each of the members of the band.
The other woman told police that she was able to escape after kicking one of the band members in the groin.
The band members’ legal representation has previously said that they can produce witnesses who can dispute that account.
In the same police report, a volunteer at The Pin said that after the show and before they were in the bus, the two women were “groping” and “all over” the lead singer and another member of the band. He also told police after clearing more equipment out of the venue that he saw through the bus doors one woman chugging a clear liquid, which he believed to be alcohol.
The alleged victim’s friend, who left the bus, was stopped later that night for a DUI, according to the report. The Washington State Trooper who made the stop said the woman never mentioned a rape while she was being arrested or while being taken into custody.
“She spoke to someone on the phone and then said to him that her friend was raped by five men downtown,” police wrote in court documents.
Detectives noted the victim had “significant bruising to her upper arms consistent with being restrained” and “small abrasions to her knuckles that were scabbed over,” according to the police report.
When members of the band were arrested in California, they were interviewed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s investigators.
Kieltyka told California detectives he saw both Piotrowski and Wiecek engaged in sex acts with the woman in the bathroom and agreed to a DNA test, according to court documents.
Lysejko told detectives that he didn’t know who the women were, court documents said. Piotrowski admitted there was a party on the bus with women present, but declined to give a DNA sample.
Wiecek told authorities that the women were on the bus, but that he was sitting on the couch and didn’t see what was going on. He also declined a DNA sample.
All four band members have different attorneys.