Sex tape could clear suspected Craigslist rapist

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Craigslist (www.sfbay.craigslist.org)
Craigslist (www.sfbay.craigslist.org)
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UPDATE: The District Attorney's Office eventually dismissed all charges against Robert Michael Hoffman.

The attorney for a San Francisco lawyer accused of sexually assaulting women who responded to his ads for rough sex dropped a bombshell in court Wednesday: a videotape of one accuser that he says contradicts her claims the sex was nonconsensual.

Robert Michael Hoffman, 51, has been in custody since Aug. 5, after three women told police he raped or sexually assaulted them in his apartment after they responded to his online personals.

Attorney Stuart Hanlon says the women consented to the encounters. And after one woman, age 19, testified Wednesday at Hoffman’s preliminary hearing, Hanlon told a judge that he will provide a videotape of their encounters.

“This witness lied blatantly about what occurred,” Hanlon later said.

Hoffman, however, will have to overcome her testimony and similar accusations by two other women, who say they clearly told Hoffman to stop and he refused.

The 19-year-old San Franciscan testified that she went to Hoffman’s apartment in June for sex four times. But the last time, he took their previously consensual “daddy-bad girl” sex play too far.

“It was almost scary-dominant,” she said. Hoffman pulled her hair and beat her rear to the point of bruising, she said, and continued sex despite her crying and pleas of “I don’t want to do this.”

The contents of the tape were not immediately revealed, but Hanlon suggested they show the sex was consensual.

“It’s sad,” Hanlon said. “Why she would do this, I have no idea. Either women want money, or I think they leave and they feel bad about what happened.”

Hanlon would not say whether the woman consented to being videotaped.

“That’s a separate issue,” he said, adding that a nonconsensual video would still be admissible in court. “It would be a misdemeanor.”

A second woman testified later that she responded to Hoffman’s ad with the hope of rough sex but never expected he would be so aggressive.

“I believed it would be more playful,” the 36-year-old East Bay woman testified, speaking through a Russian translator. She said Hoffmann ripped her clothes off with such force that she became scared, and refused to let her leave until he performed oral sex on her.

“I screamed, I cried, and I begged him to let me go,” the woman said.

Asked by Hanlon if she liked rough sex, but only up to a certain point, the woman responded, “I didn’t convey it to him, but I believe every man understands the line.”

aburack@sfexaminer.com

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