DADE CITY Steven Vanwart has a tattoo of the grim reaper on his
The image seemed apropos in light of Wednesday's testimony from a 19-year-old woman who says he
last year while she
"I started screaming, and he
said that if I resisted he
was going to hurt me," the woman said from the stand.The Tampa Tribune
is withholding the woman's name because of the nature of the allegations.Vanwart
, 42, of Land O' Lakes, is on trial, charged with two counts of sexual battery and single counts of false imprisonment and aggravated assault.He
faces a maximum of 40 years in prison if found guilty as charged.Jurors are expected to begin their deliberations Friday.
opening statement, Assistant Public Defender Dillon Vizcarra said the sex was consensual and part of an ongoing sex-for-money exchange between Vanwart
and the woman.The woman made up the rape allegations after Vanwart
refused to give her
$1,000 for having sex with him on Aug. 2, Vizcarra said.
"This case is about a trade," Vizcarra said."Steven Vanwart
gave [the woman] cash. [The woman] gave Steven Vanwart
sex.They traded that night; they had traded before."
But that wasn't the story the woman told when she
took the stand.She
told the jurors she
went to Vanwart's travel trailer that night after she
mother argued.She and Vanwart had met while they were working together at Rapid Response Towing in Land O' Lakes.Vanwart
lived in a travel trailer on the property, and the woman had hung out there in the weeks leading up to the incident.
They watched a movie, and she
fell asleep.The woman said she
woke up hours later with her
hands and legs bound with zip ties and Vanwart
on top of her
wearing a Halloween mask.She
struggled against him, she
said, but thought better of it after Vanwart
with a stun gun and a rope.Vanwart
said, then left for about 20 minutes.When he
apologized and offered her
$100 to "be quiet," she
"I told him I didn't want anything from him," she
said."I want him behind bars, where he
During Vizcarra's cross-examination, the woman denied ever having consensual sex with Vanwart
answers, though, indicated the two had at least a casual friendship and that she
had spent the night in his
travel trailer at least once before, though it was with a friend.
Vizcarra also asked her
waited almost eight hours to report the incident to authorities.Instead, she
got a ride to a friend's house, then returned home and fell asleep.She
called the Pasco County Sheriff's Office
just before 3 that afternoon after telling her
brother what happened.
"I didn't know what to do.OK?"she