New witnesses introduced during first day of preliminary examination hearing in Elliott case
Monday marked the first day of the expected two-day preliminary examination and hearing in a sexual assault case against former Central Michigan University Student Government Association president Ian Elliott.
The Cheboygan man appeared in Isabella County Trial Court for a motion hearing on introducing new witnesses and a preliminary examination. The preliminary examination is set to start at the second day of the hearing on Tuesday.
Elliott, 24, is charged with two counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of assault with intent to commit sexual penetration. He is accused of sexually assaulting CMU graduate student Rachel Wilson on Aug. 31, 2016 after meeting her at The Cabin.
In an interview with Central Michigan Life, Wilson described feeling disoriented after meeting up with Elliott, even though she had only consumed 1 1/2 beers. Later, Elliott took her to his apartment where she vomited and passed out. She told police he sexually assaulted her after she regained consciousness.
Three of the witnesses who were introduced during Monday’s hearing were women who had experiences with Elliott involving sexual assault, drugging and violence.
CMU alumna Landrea Blackmore, 22, shared her story about an incident with Elliott that took place in 2014. Blackmore told the court she had known Elliott since high school, where they met through a leadership camp. When Blackmore began attending CMU, she said she became close with Elliott and would frequently hang out together. Blackmore, who was in the Alpha Chi Omega sorority, recounted a time where she was at Elliott’s fraternity house, Phi Kappa Tau.
On Nov. 15, 2014, Blackmore said she attended a “black light party” at the PKT house. She said she drank before the event, and described her level of intoxication as “pretty strong” at the time. Blackmore recalled she saw Elliott at the party, where the two talked in the living room and kissed.
The two went to a room upstairs in the house. She told the court she trusted Elliott and looked up to him as a mentor. When the two entered a bedroom, they sat on the bed and began talking. Blackmore described her “boundaries” at this time in her life, which included the fact that she was not comfortable doing anything sexually to a man.
Recounting the incident, Blackmore said Elliott shut the door and locked it. He began kissing her and expressed that he wanted her to perform oral sex on him. Blackmore told the court she responded to Elliott by saying she didn’t want to and she had never done it before.
Sitting on the stand, Blackmore told the court after she refused Elliott’s request, he became “very persistent. ” Blackmore said Elliot told her he was her friend and he could teach her. Blackmore told the court she said “no” more than five times to Elliott that night. Elliott became aggressive, she testified. His tone changed and he was intimidating. He then exposed himself to her, took his hand and put it around her neck, and began to apply force while he put his penis in her mouth.
Becoming emotional on the stand, Blackmore said in that moment, she became concerned, feeling “scared and confused.”
“I felt terrified and frozen,” Blackmore said.
To try to make him stop, Blackmore said she tried things like choking and using her teeth. When he finally got up, Blackmore said she walked out and was hysterically crying. In the days following, Blackmore recalled Elliott reaching out to her, asking if she was OK and said he didn’t remember what happened.
Blackmore eventually reported the incident to Elliott’s fraternity, which led to his dismissal.
Another witness who testified on Monday, recounted an incident that happened in 2016.
Shady Anderson, 19, met Elliott when she was 16 years old at a mutual friend’s party. Anderson told the court after meeting Elliott, the two decided to hang out the next day. Anderson said after Elliott picked her up to go to his house, his car got a flat tire. While waiting in the car to be picked up, she said Elliott offered her chocolates.
After buying a bottle of wine, Elliott took Anderson back to his house, where they sat and talked. While the conversation was casual at first, Anderson said Elliott began to ask her questions such as her bra size and who she lost her virginity to, which she told the court made her feel uncomfortable.
Anderson told the court Elliott poured her a glass of wine. She said she didn’t drink much of because she thought it tasted "gross." After sitting in a hottub, Anderson said she began to feel nauseous, dizzy and like she was going to pass out. When she decided to lay on the ground because she felt sick, she told Elliott she "felt like death." She told the court he responded with “Good, that’s how I want you to feel.”
Elliott later told her the chocolates he gave her were edibles, which included THC. He then asked if he could kiss her, which she responded with "no." Anderson explained Elliott still kissed her and when she finally pushed him away, he was angry.
“Why did you come here if you didn’t want to have sex with me?” Anderson said Elliott told her after refusing him.
Anderson told the court she fell asleep on the couch that night and woke up in Elliott’s bed the next morning unsure of how she got there.
At a party a few months later, Anderson said Elliott “fish hooked” her — putting a white substance on his finger and putting his finger in her mouth. Anderson said she doesn’t know what the substance was, but described to the court feeling very tired after the incident. She was unable to stand up on her own.
An ex-girlfriend of Elliott’s also testified Monday. Ashley Nola, 24, said she and Elliott dated between Fall 2014 and Spring 2017. She told the court she chose to end the relationship after it became emotionally and physically abusive.
Nola recounted two times during their relationship where he became physically aggressive during sex. The incidents included Elliott exposing himself to her and insisting on having sex, after she said no. When the two did have sex, Nola said Elliott was aggressive. He asked her to hit him,and he struck her. She said he hit her two different times, which resulted in a bloody lip and a bruise on her back.
Elliott will return to court Tuesday, Feb. 12, which will include the rest of the introduction of new witnesses and a preliminary examination.