GREENFIELD — The trial of a 19-year-old McCordsville man accused of rape opened Tuesday, Nov. 30, in Hancock County Circuit Court.
Christopher Lee Hargraves, 19, has been charged with multiple felony crimes, including two counts of Level 1 felony rape, stemming from an incident with a teenage girl in September 2020.
Hargraves, who has maintained his innocence, has been accused by the teenage girl of pointing a gun at her head and forcing himself on her during an encounter. He is facing nine counts in all. The most serious charges carry prison terms of 20 to 40 years.
Hargraves is being defended by Greenfield attorney Jeffrey McClarnon, while chief deputy prosecutor Aimee Herring is representing the prosecutor’s office for the state.
A jury of six men and six women was seated Tuesday morning in front of Circuit Court Judge Scott Sirk. The prosecution and defense presented opening arguments in the afternoon.
Herring told the jury the victim was a high school student who had connected with Hargraves via Snapchat on Sept. 10, the day of their encounter. She went to Hargraves’ home, where she was propositioned to have sex, Herring said. When the young woman declined, Hargraves took out a gun and forced himself on her, she added.
The defendant lied to investigators about even meeting the victim that night, Herring said.
In his opening argument, McClarnon acknowledged that Hargraves was not truthful with investigators about some aspects of the encounter. But he said Hargraves did not rape the girl. He said the girl also has told various versions of what happened between them that night.
Testimony began with a high school counselor who told the jury the girl reported the encounter the next day. The counselor testified she contacted authorities to report the assault after speaking with the girl.
The girl told the counselor she didn’t want Hargraves to be angry with her, the counselor testified. Under questioning by McClarnon, the counselor answered “no” when McClarnon asked whether the girl ever used the word “rape” when describing the incident.
Hargraves, dressed in a white shirt, dark tie and tan pants, sat quietly at the defense table during the early testimony.
Testimony was expected to resume today (Wednesday, Dec. 1). Prosecutor Brent Eaton said the trial is expected to last several days.