Witnesses reject claim that ex-Savoy firefighter's party was 'sexually charged'

Witnesses reject claim that ex-Savoy firefighter's party was 'sexually charged'

URBANA — People at a party last year where a young Savoy firefighter reported being sexually assaulted by his captain rejected a defense attorney's suggestion that it was "sexually charged."

Instead, they described alcohol-fueled "shenanigans" that included the donning of a revealing "mankini" by both the alleged victim and abuser, as well as the administration of intravenous fluids to help with a hangover.

David J. "D.J." Dunn, 44, is accused of slipping an incapacitating drug into those fluids and committing sex acts on the recipient.

His jury trial on charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse began Monday.

Assistant State's Attorney Troy Lozar and Urbana attorney Tom Bruno, assisted by his son, Tony, picked seven men and five women Monday to hear the trial over which Judge Tom Difanis is presiding.

In opening statements Tuesday, Lozar called the April 1-2, 2017, going-away party that Dunn was hosting for himself at his townhouse in the 100 block of West Tomaras Avenue "lively."

"It's lively frat-house high jinks," Lozar said, explaining that the party was attended mostly by other firefighters and first responders who were friends of Dunn.

The prosecutor said it started about 7 p.m. April 1 and stretched into the early morning hours of April 2, and involved at least three men spending the night at the house because they were too intoxicated to get home safely.

One of those men was a probationary Savoy firefighter who, when he awoke about 10 a.m. April 2, was physically sick and knew he had been sexually assaulted.

"He knew he was horribly drunk but paralyzed. This didn't feel like drunk," Lozar said of the man's recollection.

Leaving Dunn's home with a male friend, he shared with that man what he believed happened and later told his girlfriend. He went to a hospital that afternoon, and a criminal investigation began that resulted in Dunn being criminally charged the next day.

"This was more than a wild party. This was a sexually charged party," said Tom Bruno in his opening statement.

At the time of his arrest, Dunn was employed as a full-time paramedic for what is now OSF Pro Ambulance and was also serving as a captain for the Savoy Fire Department.

Although the department is staffed by volunteers, they are paid per call.

After commuting for several months between his Savoy jobs and working for an air ambulance in Alaska, Dunn was about to leave his Savoy home to take a full-time fire chief position in Dutch Harbor, Ala., Bruno said.

The party at his home was attended by at least 30 people. Nine of them testified Tuesday.

The 'mankini' challenge

Cody Fetzner, a probationary Savoy firefighter, said he and the alleged victim came to the party together and, like most everyone present, began drinking alcohol and playing drinking games.

Around 11 p.m., many left Dunn's to go to the nearby Senator's Pub for more drinking and karaoke. After closing that bar down about 1 a.m., they returned to Dunn's and more drinking.

Shortly after their return, Dunn brought out a piece of men's underwear, described as a singlet with a thong that left the buttocks revealed but covered the front male parts. It was a gag gift from a firefighter Christmas party, according to some of the witnesses, or at least looked like one that had been given as a gag gift.

The group began challenging party-goers to put it on, offering money to the taker who was willing to taunt Dunn's sleeping roommate and his girlfriend while clad in the apparel that Lozar called the "mankini."

Fetzner said the first to take the challenge — and get paid $100 — was the alleged victim. Fetzner said his friend put it on and went to the upstairs bedroom of Dunn's roommate, Andy Stewart, who was inside with his ill girlfriend, Whitney Anderson.

Both Stewart and Anderson testified they were sleeping when the door opened and the intoxicated man came in. Stewart, who said he had not been drinking that night, told the man to get out, and nothing else happened.

Minutes later, Stewart said, Dunn returned to their room wearing the mankini, but Stewart said he hit Dunn with a piece of workout equipment, also ordering him out of their room.

Fetzner said he then put on the mankini and went across the street to the home of another Savoy firefighter, Carson Lewis.

Lewis testified he was sleeping about 2 a.m. when he woke to Fetzner jumping on his bed over him wearing the mankini. Startled, he jumped up and ordered Fetzner and others who had come to witness the prank out of his home.

Unable to sleep after that, Lewis decided to go to Dunn's. There were still several people present, and "everyone is fairly inebriated," he said.

'Not really engaging'

Lewis said the alleged victim was sitting on a stool in the kitchen when he began to slump over, and he and Dunn helped him to the sofa recliner in the living room. At Dunn's direction, they took off the man's clothes in case he were to vomit.

Shortly thereafter, the man got sick, and Lewis said Dunn announced he was going to start an intravenous line to give the man fluids and Zofran, an anti-nausea medication.

Lewis said he held the waste can for the sick firefighter while Dunn put the IV line in his arm. Both then moved him to Dunn's bed, where he was shivering and chattering his teeth, a side effect of being given the fluid, Lewis said.

After the IV bag was empty, Lewis said Dunn taped the IV line to the man's arm, saying he'd leave it in place in case the man needed more fluids.

Lewis said he and Dunn put the man in the "recovery" position to make sure that if he got sick again, he wouldn't choke on vomit. They covered him with a blanket. He was wearing only his underwear.

"His eyes were mostly closed. He opened them every so often and looked around but was not really engaging," Lewis said.

At Dunn's request, Lewis said he checked on other intoxicated party-goers who were spending the night to make sure everyone had a place to sleep. Satisfied that everyone was all right, Lewis said he went home and got in bed about 5 a.m.

"The last time I saw D.J., he was on his feet in his bedroom," Lewis said.

'He didn't remember'

Another of Dunn's roommates, Brian Peddycoart, testified that he was aware the man was ill and that Dunn was tending to him, although he never saw the IV.

Peddycoart, also an emergency medical technician and a Savoy firefighter, said he allowed Fetzner to sleep in his room, but he got up early and left for his job as a METCAD dispatcher.

At work about 1 p.m. that Sunday, he took a call from then-Provena Covenant Medical Center about a man there for treatment for sexual assault.

Learning that the reporting victim said the assault had happened at the home he shared with Dunn and Stewart, Peddycoart contacted Stewart to ask if he knew what it was about.

And when he got home after work, he confronted Dunn.

"He was very confused, didn't really recall. He started to get sick," said Peddycoart, who pressed Dunn for information and asked if the man could have misinterpreted something.

"He didn't remember. He didn't think he'd done anything," Peddycoart testified.

He said Dunn told him he had given the man an IV and the anti-nausea medication.

Peddycoart said police showed up at their home to question Dunn about 7 or 8 p.m. that day, some three hours after he had talked to Dunn.

While the witnesses' recollections differed slightly on some facts, they were in universal agreement that the party was not "sexually charged" and that the alleged victim looked worse as the evening wore on.

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