A Platte County jury has convicted an Independence man of raping a woman he met on a dating website.
Bradley D. Everhart, 31, was convicted Tuesday of first-degree rape. Prosecutors said Everhart had exchanged text messages with the woman through the Plenty of Fish dating website. On Aug. 28, 2016, they met at a residence in Platte County.
According to prosecutors, Everhart and the woman went to a bedroom to watch a movie. The woman sat on the bed and after a few minutes, Everhart kissed her shoulder. She said, “no.” Everhart said, “You didn’t want me to do that? Fine.”
Later that evening, Everhart touched the woman again. He then got on top of her and pinned her down. The woman repeatedly told Everhart, “no,” and tried to push him away.
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Everhart replied, “It’s too late,” and then raped the woman, Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said in a statement.
The woman ran from the house and told her mother and a friend what happened.
Everhart sent the woman over 60 text messages within an hour of the attack, repeatedly apologizing and asking her not to say anything because he would lose custody of his children. Everhart promised the woman that it would not happen again.
She then went to the hospital and spoke to police. DNA evidence collected during the sexual assault exam was later traced to Everhart. The exam also showed evidence of injuries from the rape, Zahnd said.
Everhart initially denied knowing the woman or meeting anyone in person using the website, but he later admitted having sex with the woman.
“The jury immediately saw this case for what it is: forcible rape,” Zahnd said. “Even if we assume the story the defendant told police is true, he continued to force himself onto a woman for nearly a minute while she was repeatedly saying ‘no’ and trying to push him off.
“That’s rape, and no prior conduct of either the defendant or the victim can change that fact.
“The jury in this case sent the message that ‘no’ really does mean ‘no.’ Meeting someone on a dating website, going to their home, and watching a movie clearly does not give anyone the right to force sex upon that person.”