Machipongo Man Convicted of Rape

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By Linda Cicoira
A Machipongo man was convicted Monday in Northampton Circuit Court of raping a married friend who had passed out at a party after drinking vodka in January 2017. Tavarus Jewel “TJ” Stratton, 33, of James Allen Drive, was remanded to the Eastern Shore Regional Jail until sentencing, which was scheduled for April 8. Stratton claimed he and the victim had consensual sex in his car two days earlier at Indiantown Park. She denied that occurred. She said he was charged with the crime after she woke up to him having sex with her while she was intoxicated and sleeping in a bedroom of the house where the party occurred. He had pulled her pants and underwear down.
“He was in the bed with me and that was a place he was not supposed to be,” she testified. When she realized he was in the bed, she said she saw him “smiling at me with his gold tooth in his mouth.” Then, he left the room. When she confronted him, “He’s not saying anything. He’s not denying, he’s not agreeing. He’s not saying anything.”
The woman said the crime occurred at another friend’s house, where she often partied and felt safe. She called her husband to come to get her after the incident occurred. He took her to the hospital where an examination was performed. She was hoping the incident “was a dream” but soon learned it wasn’t as the sperm found on her belonged to the defendant. The Eastern Shore Post does not report the names of victims of sexual assault.

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