Sexual battery victims can no longer be shamed into silence

Katelynn Quarrels is made of some tough wood. She came to the office of Historic City News twice last year and interviewed with our editor, Michael Gold about one of the most tragic events to happen to her in her young life. She says she was raped twice – once by the boyfriend of her female roommate, then by the St Augustine Police Department and St Johns County State Attorney’s office.

Katelynn says shame, embarrassment, confusion, and fear kept her from exposing local members of the criminal justice system who turned a blind eye to the sexual battery that occurred in the wee hours of February 20, 2012 in her Cordova Street apartment.

“If it is 3:00 a.m. and you are exhausted, in the fog of a deep sleep, you are not in any condition to consent to have sex with a man with whom you have never had sexual relations,” Quarrels told Historic City News. “Especially when that man is having a sexual relationship with your roommate, and he knows that you are in an exclusive relationship with another man.”

However, that is exactly what Quarrels says happened to her.

Quarrels roommate, 19-year-old Catherine Marshall, and Marshall’s boyfriend at the time, 19-year-old Matthew Alan William Hare, lived in an apartment on Cordova Street. Quarrels was in a relationship with 22-year-old Cory James Harris who lived in an apartment on Riberia Street.

All three roommates were celebrating that day; an afternoon party that started before dinner and would end, for Quarrels, about 3:00 a.m. Quarrels admitted to police that she “drank a whole bottle of wine on her own,” because her boyfriend was working and could not join them.

The three ventured out of the apartment on foot, walked over to St George Street, and bought pizza. Quarrels said she was expecting Harris to call her and then stop by her apartment after work.

About 2:00 or 2:30 a.m., Quarrels, Marshall, and Hare, decided to return home. Quarrels said Marshall and Hare were having an argument, but she had stayed with them in Marshall’s room long enough to have a cigarette, then headed to bed at 3:00 a.m.

At about 3:30 a.m., while Quarrels says she was fast asleep, she felt someone touching her. It was dark in her room and she was not fully awake, but she believed it was her boyfriend, Cory Harris. Quarrels said in her statement to police that she said “hey, baby, I didn’t know you were home.”

Quarrels remembers the man removing her blanket and pulling her tights down on one leg. She says the man got on top of her and began having intercourse. She said he stopped and got up from the bed in “about ten seconds”.

Quarrels began waking fully, but says her recollection of what was going on didn’t make sense. Why would her boyfriend not call first before coming over? She looked at her cell phone and saw where Harris had just sent her a text message at about 3:30 a.m. Why then would he just walk away from her?

As she was trying to sort out what had just happened, Hare walked back into her bedroom and closed the door to the connecting bathroom. Since Quarrels knew Hare’s girlfriend was in the other room, she realized that it had been Hare, not Harris, who had just had sex with her. She ordered Hare out of her bedroom and called her boyfriend. They agreed that Quarrels should call the police, leave her apartment, and meet at Harris’ apartment on Riberia Street.

According to the police report, Quarrels declined to have a physical exam or to speak with a victim advocate. She did give her statement of the night’s events and turned over her dress, tights, and sheets from her bed. Quarrels told police that Hare tricked her into having sex with him, believing that he was her boyfriend.

Police spoke to Hare later that same day. He knew that Quarrels had turned the evidence over to police so he admitted to having sex with her that night — but he insisted it was consensual and she knew it was him the entire time.

Hare was not unknown to police, they had arrested him for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia on August 8, 2011, and a year before, the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office had arrested a then 18-year-old Hare for criminal mischief with less than $200 in damage, as well as burglary of a structure while no one was inside on August 4, 2010.

On November 17, 2010, Assistant State Attorney Adam Warren, announced that he would not prosecute criminal mischief and burglary of an unoccupied structure charges.

In open court on February 28, 2012, Prosecutor Richard Price announced that it would not prosecute Hare on the charges of possession of cannabis and possession of paraphernalia.

A statement from Quarrels, her boyfriend Cory Harris, her roommate Catherine Marshall, and Matthew Alan William Hare, were forwarded to St Johns County State Attorney R. J. Larizza, including the sworn February 20, 2012 affidavit.

The Sexual Battery charges were withdrawn by the State on the filing of an announcement of “no information” by Assistant State Attorney Christopher France on May 10, 2012, and the case was closed according to the Clerk of Court.
Since those encounters, Hare finds himself in trouble with the law again; in court charged with battery (784.03 1a) and contributing to the delinquency of a child (827.04 1a). A pretrial hearing before Judge Alex Christine on March 7, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. in courtroom 255. Hare is represented by local defense attorney David Hilbert.

Quarrels says she will no longer be shamed or embarrassed by Matthew Hare, whether the State Attorney wants to excuse him from his crimes or not. She and two others who say that they have been victims of Hare’s violent behavior came forward in a recent article published in Folio Weekly.

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