MARTINEZ -- Nearly four years after a gang rape at Richmond High School stunned the community and drew nationwide outrage, the victim of the brutal attack took the witness stand for the first time to recount her memories before she awoke the next day in "excruciating pain" in a trauma center.
Jane Doe, who was a 16-year-old sophomore at the time of the attack, testified Monday she did not remember being sexually assaulted by a group of boys and men in a dark courtyard outside the school's homecoming dance. But she recalled vividly the painful aftermath in the hospital.
"My head really hurt, and I saw five of everybody staring at me," said Doe, whose identity is being protected. "I felt very nauseous, as if someone had taken out my insides and stabbed them and put them back in."
Testifying at the trial of two of the men accused of taking part in the assault, the slight woman appeared nervous as she walked in the courtroom with stiff arms. She quickly relaxed and showed little emotion as she spent nearly an hour describing what she remembered before blacking out, as well as her lasting injuries.
She recalled leaving the dance with a headache and having a classmate invite her to the courtyard, where she was treated politely by a group of boys and men, including one who placed a sweatshirt on a bench so that she wouldn't dirty her dress. They exchanged small talk about ringtones and music before she told them that she had to go home because she had a headache and church in the morning.
She recalled nothing sexual about the encounter and answered "no" when asked by the prosecution whether she consented to sex with anyone.
Contradicting testimony from multiple witnesses, Doe maintained she did not drink alcohol with the group and had never consumed alcohol in her life.
Intending to call her father to come pick her up from the dance, Doe said the last thing she remembered from that night was standing up from the bench and closing her eyes. She recalls falling but doesn't remember why or where.
She has a "flash" memory of clutching her necklaces as if someone were pulling them, then being kicked in the stomach and releasing the necklaces.
The next day she awoke in a hospital, her body in pain "everywhere from head to toe." She could barely speak and had to write things down to communicate with police officers.
Her jaw felt dislocated, and there were burns on her back, she said.
"Later, I was told that they put their cigarettes out on my back. I still have scars to this day," she said.
Doe's much-anticipated testimony came during the dual jury trial of 22-year-old Richmond resident Jose Montano and 20-year-old Pinole resident Marcelles Peter, who each assert innocence in connection with the Oct. 24, 2009, attack that went on for up to 2½ hours before a woman in the neighborhood heard what was happening and called 911. The men face life in prison if convicted.
Two other men, 22-year-old Manuel Ortega and 19-year-old Ari Morales, have been convicted of gang rape in connection with the attack; another two, 25-year-old Elvis Torrentes and 46-year-old John Crane, are awaiting trial on lesser sexual assault charges.
Doe said that she did not recognize Peter but pointed out Montano as one of the young men she met in the courtyard.
The jury on Monday was showed pictures of Doe in her hospital bed. Her thin face was moon shaped and deformed from swelling. She was covered with scrapes, bruises, patches of eroded skin, dirt and other debris. The imprint of her ear to the side of her face indicated blunt-force trauma, a nurse testified.
Doe was in so much pain when examined 16 hours after being rescued by police that the sexual assault nurses had to skip certain steps of the protocol exam.
In the nearly four years since the incident, Doe said her right shoulder and hips regularly pop out of socket. She now suffers from migraines regularly and has trouble learning.
"I used to be very quick on my feet," she said.
Her testimony that she didn't voluntarily drink alcohol the night of the attack contradicted accounts given last week by Ortega, who pleaded guilty to gang rape and other felonies in exchange for a 32-year sentence, and assault witness Salvador Rodriguez. They each testified that the girl was voluntarily "chugging" their brandy after accepting her classmate's invitation to drink with them.
Sexual assault nurse Anamaree Rea testified that the day after the assault, the 95-pound girl told her that she had drank brandy at the courtyard picnic table.
"She was very specific with us that the last thing she remembered was drinking at the park bench ... and then waking up," Rea said.
"She was begging us to not make her go back to that school."
In opening statements, prosecutor John Cope said the girl's attackers poured alcohol on her and in her after she became intoxicated on her own. She was hospitalized with head trauma and a near-fatal 0.35 blood-alcohol level.
During cross examination on Monday, Montano's attorney, Jane Elliott, asked the girl, "Do you remember telling the police officer that you felt like you shouldn't have drank that night?"
"No," Doe replied. "I do not remember drinking that night."
The West Contra Costa Unified School District paid Doe $4 million in 2011 to settle a civil claim filed because the gang rape occurred on campus despite security being present for the dance. All charges were dismissed at the preliminary hearing against the then-15-year-old classmate of the victim who invited her to the courtyard.
Morales, of San Pablo, was sentenced to 27 years in prison in February after pleading guilty to rape by a foreign object in concert, and no contest to rape in concert and forcible oral copulation in concert. He is expected to take the witness stand this week.
The trial continues Tuesday.
Contact Malaika Fraley at 925-234-1684. Follow her at Twitter.com/malaikafraley.