Champaign man convicted of sex assault for act on then-roommate

Champaign man convicted of sex assault for act on then-roommate

URBANA — A Champaign man found guilty of committing sex acts on a former roommate faces four to 15 years in prison.

A Champaign County jury of nine women and three men deliberated three hours Thursday before convicting Scott Foss, 29, of the 1000 block of West Beardsley Avenue of criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse.

Judge Tom Difanis revoked Foss' bond and had him jailed pending his Nov. 2 hearing on post-trial motions and possible sentencing.

Foss testified that on Feb. 26, 2017, he was giving the now-34-year-old woman a back massage at her request and committed a sex act while on top of her to which she did not object.

Foss' version of the encounter was in stark contrast to that of the woman, who described Foss committing uninvited sex acts on her three times and her reluctance to tell anyone out of fear of losing his financial support and not being believed.

The woman testified — and Foss confirmed — that he was a friend of her fiance. Because both she and the fiance were out of work, they had Foss move in to their northwest Champaign rental home around December 2016 to help with expenses so they wouldn't end up homeless. The woman's two children also lived with them.

At that time, the woman said, she suffered from depression and anxiety over the death of a child she considered a daughter. She took medication for that nightly, which she said effectively knocked her out.

On the morning of Feb. 26, when her fiance was out of town, she said was sleeping on her stomach and woke to Foss on top of her legs. She had locked the bedroom door but said the lock was easily defeated.

The woman, who weighs 94 pounds, said Foss had one hand on her shoulder blade and was using his other hand to gratify himself sexually.

"He said it's his fantasy, something he always wanted to do," the woman testified. "I told him it was wrong. Please stop it. I told him five or six times. He didn't stop till he was done."

Asked why she didn't call police immediately, the woman said Foss "said if I said anything to anybody, he would make sure nobody would believe me. I have been a victim before. I spoke up and nobody believed me," she said of a childhood sexual molestation.

The woman said after the sex act, Foss, who weighs about 240 pounds, walked her to the bathroom, ran a bath and "physically washed me himself to make sure there was nothing on me."

Three days later, on March 1, the woman told a girlfriend what had happened, and the girlfriend, the woman's fiance and another male friend of the fiance confronted Foss around 3 a.m. When Foss admitted the sex act to the group, the fiance ordered him out of the home.

They called 911 and Champaign County sheriff's deputy J.P. Reifsteck interviewed the woman and the others who confronted Foss, then interviewed Foss at his parents' house. Jurors watched a 13-minute video of that interview, in which Foss said he massaged the woman's back on two occasions and "it led to a little more but not actual physical sex."

Foss denied that the woman told him no or resisted. He admitted to Reifsteck that what he had done was wrong but said he wasn't sure why he felt that way.

Testifying in his own defense, Foss admitted to physical contact but said the woman had asked for back massages and that he never threatened her or used force.

In arguments to the jury, Assistant State's Attorney Troy Lozar said the woman "was not at a strong point in her life" when Foss began taking advantage of her and that she had no reason to make up the allegations of sexual contact.

"'She didn't say no' is not a manifestation of consent by any stretch of the imagination," the prosecutor argued, also noting the difference in their sizes.

Foss' attorney, Mike Zopf of Champaign, said the woman, who is older than his client, was "more sophisticated" than Foss and that had the event happened as she described, she would have called for help immediately, not three days later.

He called Foss "naive" and unable to communicate effectively.

"We have somebody who made some mistakes but not who committed a crime," Zopf argued.

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