Updated: Trial Begins in Sex Assault Case Where Liaisons Were Arranged Via Dating App
Prosecutors say women did not give consent and were raped
The trial for Colin Black began on Tuesday.
Updated at 4:30 p.m. Monday: A Rockville man facing sexual offense charges involving two women he met through a social media dating app went too far during their sexual encounters, prosecutors said Tuesday at the opening of his jury trial in county Circuit Court.
Colin Sime Black, 35, was arrested in October 2017 and charged with second-degree rape, four counts of second-degree sexual offenses, two counts of second-degree assault and false imprisonment stemming from four interactions with women he met through the Tinder matchmaking service.
The trial is related to two of the victims and the two counts of second-degree sexual offense. Black will face the six other counts in two additional trials scheduled later in July.
Black was a guidance counselor at Albert Einstein High School in Kensington and was placed on administrative leave after his arrest. Authorities have said his encounters did not involve students.
While prosecutors concede Black had some consensual sex with the women, they claim he later sexually assaulted them against their will.
“No means no,” prosecutor Mary Herdman told the jury of nine men and five women during opening arguments. “You can consent to hundreds of different things sexually with someone, but when someone says ‘no’ to a particular thing, no means no.”
The women were worried that the alleged assaults were their fault because they had agreed to the Tinder date and consented to sex, Herdman said.
The woman in the March 2017 encounter reported the matter to police shortly after the incident, police said. Officers learned in September 2017 of a possible second woman, and spoke with her in October 2017.
Defense attorney Barry Helfand presented a series of text messages between Black and the women to provide what he said was “necessary context for how they were talking to each other.”
Helfand called the prosecution’s “no means no” argument the “appeal of the century” and said this is a case of consenting adults meeting up using an app intended for that purpose.
Prosecutors intend to call friends of the women who knew of the alleged assaults, as well as detectives involved in investigating Black. The two women are expected to testify as well.
Black, in a blue blazer and gray slacks, sat quietly next to his attorneys during opening arguments. He has been out of jail on $75,000 bond.
This article was updated to clarify the charges against Black as it pertains to the trial beginning June 25.
Charlie Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org