A transgender accused police officer of raping and beating her told the jury that she had revealed to the officer that she was HIV positive in an effort to stop the assault.
Gabriel Bernal, 23, said that Dean Gutierrez punched her in the face and hit her in the leg with a “black body”.
Bernal said, “When he hits me in the face, I assume he will kill me.”
Gutierrez, 46, is accused of denying a person civil rights by committing serious sexual abuse while doing his job. If convicted, Gutierrez faces a life sentence.
Although the names of alleged sexual assault victims are not usually printed, Bernal agreed to use her name. Bernal prefers to be called Starlight and addressed as a woman. However, pretenders use male pronouns to refer to Bernal.
When US Assistant Attorney General Bill Bowman asked him whether the actions were consensual, Bernal replied: “Not with my agreement, sir. Not with me.”
The San Antonio Express News reported in its Thursday issue that Bernal cried and struggled to answer questions and understand words referring to body parts. The newspaper reported that Bowman explained the phrases as he would a child.
Gutierrez’s lawyers claimed outside the jury’s presence that Bernal was acting naive. The defense also tried unsuccessfully to allow him to argue that Bernal’s injuries may have been caused by sex in prostitution.
“All you want to do is plant that seed, but you have no evidence that she was practicing prostitution that same night,” said US District Court Judge Xavier Rodriguez, rejecting the defense request.
Authorities say Gutierrez knows Bernal was a male.
The defense alleges Bernal fabricated the allegations to obtain funds from the city. Gutierrez’s lawyer, Ben Civuents Jr., said Bernal had hired attorneys to pursue a civil case against the city.
The San Antonio Guterres Police Department has been placed on an indefinite suspension, which is equivalent to expelling him, following his indictment.