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Man could get probation for alleged gang rape of woman at 2014 party

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Rape charges

From left are Ajahn D. Batty, Joshua W. Shipp and David G. Werner.

CROWN POINT — One of three men charged after authorities submitted previously untested sexual assault kits to state police in 2018 pleaded guilty Tuesday to raping a woman at a party in Merrillville in 2014.

Ajahn D. Batty, 28, of Gary, agreed to a five-year sentence, all of which is to be served on probation, Lake Criminal Court records show. 

If Judge Natalie Bokota accepts his plea agreement, Batty also must register as a sex offender for 10 years and avoid any contact with the woman while completing his sentence.

Batty's co-defendants, Joshua W. Shipp and David G. Werner, have pleaded not guilty to charges of rape and criminal confinement.

Batty admitted in his plea agreement he was with Shipp, Werner and the woman at a party Sept. 30, 2014, in Merrillville and engaged in various drinking games.

Shipp told Batty is was OK to have sex with the woman, but the woman did not give Batty consent to have sexual intercourse with her, records state.

Batty admitted he knew the woman was too intoxicated to give him consent, and she cried as he raped her, the plea agreement states.

The woman later sought medical treatment for injuries consistent with forced sexual intercourse, and Batty's DNA was found in her rape kit, records state. 

Bokota scheduled Batty's sentencing for Nov. 16.

According to court records, the woman told police she was playing drinking games at Shipp's Merrillville apartment with Shipp and a second man, identified as Werner.

She said Shipp made a rule in the game that she would have to remove an article of clothing whenever she drank. She drank three or four beers, then remembered waking up naked on his bedroom floor, records state.

The woman initially said at the hospital that Shipp and Batty sexually assaulted her. During a second interview Oct. 7, 2014, she said Shipp sexually assaulted her in his room. She said Werner then brought her into his room, sexually assaulted her, and then Batty came into the room and also sexually assaulted her.

Lake County prosecutor's initiative to review glut of untested rape kits leads to charges against three men for 2014 sexual assault

Werner admitted in an interview with police he had sex with the woman on the night in question, but claimed it was consensual, records show.

Shipp initially denied in a police interview he had sex with the woman. When asked if his DNA would be found during the woman's sexual assault examination, he admitted to fondling the woman, documents state.

When charges were filed against the three men in 2018, Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter announced had had reopened hundreds of cases where evidence was gathered in sexual assault kits, but they were never submitted to state police for testing.

Carter also said he put all police departments in Lake County on notice that in future rape cases, investigators are expected to pick up completed rape kits from hospitals within 72 hours of their completion and submit every non-anonymous kit to the Indiana State Police crime lab for testing within 30 days of pickup. 


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