- Published on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 11:33
- Written by Josh Williams
LIVINGSTON COUNTY — Sex, drugs, and a hostage situation were all pieces of a bizarre Livonia High School Reunion last summer. The ensuing legal drama came to a conclusion this week after the County Court trial of James Woodruff, 40, who was accused of forcible touching, breaking and entering, and numerous other offenses.
Woodruff was found not guilty on all 8 charges by Judge Dennis Cohen after a whacky two-day trial in which details emerged that make the season finale of Melrose Place seem G-rated.
The trouble started for Woodruff, who lives in Springwater, when a scheduled reunion on Conesus Lake spun out of control after he became incredibly intoxicated and extremely annoying to other members of the party and was asked to leave.
"My client is guilty of being a drunken a**hole [sic]. He’s NOT guilty of these charges," said defense attorney Greg McCaffrey in his opening statements.
According to court testimony Woodruff’s evening began when he was picked up by his then galpal who would end the evening as one of his two accusers. The party host and eventual second accuser was a woman friend of the first victim, who had flown in from California to host the evening’s festivities.
Accuser number 2, the hostess, testified that she became seriously annoyed with Woodruff after the Parrot Bay Rum he was swilling from the bottle started to kick in and he began making aggressive sexual comments towards other females at the party.
Woodruff at first refused to leave but after some coaxing left the party with a buddy, David Crego – who is currently in a relationship with Accuser number 2 and wanted on an arrest warrant. The two left the party and somehow made their way to a drug house in Rochester.
Upon his return, in the wee hours of the morning, Woodruff walked into the home and went upstairs to the bedroom where the women slept together. But as the two days’ sometimes contradictory testimony came out in court, it became clear that exactly how that came about, and what happened from the start of the party to the finish, was anything but clear.
Outside of court after the not guilty verdict, a relieved Woodruff claimed he was in a blackout for much of that time. "I came out of the blackout in the city sitting in a truck. Crego was in a drug house, and I had no idea how I got there.”
According to Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Quintilone, Woodruff somehow got a ride from someone inside the drug house back to the cottage where the party had been, leaving Crego there where he was being held hostage for money owed on consumed drugs.
When he arrived back at the cottage, Woodruff went upstairs to the room where the two friends were sleeping, in one bed, and climbed in. He allegedly began “hooking up” with Accuser number 2 while his galpal, Accuser number 1, was passed out next to them.
When Accuser number 1, awoke, Accuser number 2 promptly darted outside looking for Crego, who was apparently being held at the drug house in need of $1,000 for the drugs he’d consumed.
After Accuser number 2 left the room, Woodruff then tried to hook-up with his original date, Accuser number 1, but she was pretty irate at the whole situation. The two left and she dropped him off at his Springwater home, hoping that would be the end of it.
After Accuser number 2, the host of the party, drove to the city to spring Crego from the drug house, she then returned to the cottage. After thinking over the events she decided that she had been violated, and called the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office to file a report.
The Livingston County District Attorney's office then charged Woodruff with 8 counts including sex abuse in the first, and sex abuse in the third on both victims, as well as criminal trespass.
The two alleged victims contradicted each other on direct examination and cross examination during the trial. In addition, another witness who used the nearby upstairs bathroom during all of the alleged assaults said she heard or saw nothing that appeared forcible.
Judge Dennis Cohen immediately returned a "not guilty" verdict on all counts after both lawyers concluded their closing arguments.
Woodruff, after being asked outside court what he thought the moral of the story was, said "Watch what you do and who your friends are.” He took a parting shot at the County legal authorities. "I think its ridiculous that the District Attorney's office trumped up these charges against me."
UPDATE: 04/2712, The orginal version incorrectly reported Mr. Crego's first name, The correct name is David Crego.