Corey Donahue found guilty of unlawful sexual contact in TV journalist "nut tap"
More than eight months ago, Occupy Denver protester (and former Westword cover subject) Corey Donahue called it a "bad nut-tap joke gone wrong." But this morning, during his trial for the misdemeanor charge of unlawful sexual contact, the events of October 15 grew more serious. After a day-long trial that tested the difference between a "nut tap," a "nut job" and a "nut cup," a jury found Donahue guilty of the charge, which could bring up to eighteen months in jail.
The sex offense also requires that Donahue, who is 29, register as a sex offender. Although Donahue was also charged with third-degree assault for the same incident, the jury rejected that charge.
The story began shortly after Occupy Denver did: During the second large police raid on Occupy Denver, CBS4 photojournalist Robert McClure entered the Thunderdome, the occupation's former anarchist kitchen, to shoot video footage of its new location in Civic Center Park. At that point in time, police officers had recently demanded the Thunderdome be removed. (Only the day before, the kitchen fell during Occupy Denver's first eviction, that time from Lincoln Park across the street.) It was McClure's first day covering the movement.
Kelsey Whipple An officer asks Occupy Denver's kitchen volunteers to take down the group's new food tent on October 15.
In footage shown during the trial, McClure can be seen approaching Thunderdome cook Justin "Crunchy" Gwin and asking about the developing situation. As Gwin explains, Donahue joins in, prompting McClure to ask that the two cooks take turns speaking because "this is television." Here, he turns the camera off.
The majority of yesterday's trial revolved around the different perceptions of what followed. According to McClure, who has worked for CBS4 for seventeen years, Donahue asked if he had other equipment, and when McClure said no, Donahue responded, "Fuck you" and grabbed McClure's genitals. McClure said the gesture was neither expected, prompted or wanted, and a few hours later, when the day's events had progressed, he notified a police officer of what had happened.
According to both Donahue and Gwin, who testified on behalf of his fellow Thunderdome activist, Donahue's hand never made contact with McClure's body. Donahue's attorney, Travis Simpson, argued that Donahue would have had to reach around Gwin, who stood between the two men, in order to accomplish this. "Corey Donahue motions around a large man, laughs and walks away," Simpson maintained, referring to the difference between nouns applied in the case. "But he does not touch Mr. McClure. There was no contact."
Brandon Marshall Police arrest Corey Donahue during Occupy Denver's first month.
During testimony, however, McClure maintained that Donahue reached for and grabbed his testicles without consent, and while he experienced no pain or pressure, the action was undesired, he said. "I described it to the police as a gentle cup," McClure told the court, continuing that he is 100 percent certain of the contact and has experienced nothing similar to it in nearly two decades on the job.
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