BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – The Broome County District Attorney’s Office is arguing that texts by the alleged victims in the Colonial rape case, taken in whole, show that they were sexually assaulted and feared for their safety.
Jordan Rindgen, Yaron “Ron” Kweller and his brother Leor Kweller are accused of supplying cocaine to 2 young women and then raping them in the basement of Rent Bing on Washington Street in downtown Binghamton on November 27th, 2021.
Rindgen and Ron Kweller were partners in the Colonial Restaurant and Bar and Dos Rios Cantina, which have both since closed.
The DA has filed a response to a defense motion submitted last month seeking a dismissal of the case.
Defense attorneys argue that texts by the alleged victims indicate that the sex was consensual and that the women were seeking a million dollars from the accused.
Senior Assistant DA Alyssa Congdon argues that those texts are being taken out of context, and that there is substantial evidence showing that the women felt trapped and intimidated, satisfying the forcible compulsion portion of the definition of rape.
According to the court document, the alleged victims say that they were taken to a basement room with only one exit, had their phones taken away, ordered to strip naked and given cocaine.
Both women had been drinking and one was largely incoherent due to excessive alcohol consumption.
One is quoted as saying she was very scared that if she tried to leave, the men would try to hurt her.
She was also reportedly afraid to leave her very drunk friend behind.
The prosecution’s response highlights texts from one of the alleged victims in which she struggles with the definition of rape, questioning whether the fact that she did not say “no” meant that she had consented.
The DA also argues that it is common for victims of sexual assault to blame themselves, fear the reaction of their family and friends, and mitigate or minimize what happened to them.
According to the DA, one of the women texted “And if they try to pay us off” immediately before “I’m settling for nothing less then a million.”
The DA argues that it was part of a discussion of the men’s perceived wealth and power and the possibility of hush money rather than a conspiracy to extort money from them.
The prosecution’s response also addresses a DNA test that shows that Leor Kweller is not a match for samples taken from his alleged victim.
The DA argues that can be explained by the use of a condom or failure to ejaculate.
Paul Battisti, the attorney for Ron Kweller, released the following statement: “The Defense will be filing a reply to the People’s motion this afternoon. We patiently await the court’s ruling.”