SLOPD detective convinced woman was raped at fraternity party

September 10, 2011

Joseph Trupiano

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

San Luis Obispo police detective Chad Pfarr said Cal Poly graduate Joseph Trupiano “absolutely” raped a woman at a fraternity party the night of May 7, despite the recent decision by the district attorney’s office not to file charges.

The day following the party, the alleged victim reported to police that she awoke “completely nude and felt severe pain in her vagina and anus,” according to a search warrant filed by the San Luis Obispo Police Department.

While Pfarr would not confirm whether the alleged victim was sodomized, he did say that a physical exam conducted on the woman confirmed everything she reported.

The alleged victim also said she had scratches on her forearms and bruising on her inner thighs, which she did not have prior to the party, according to the warrant.

Following the incident, police arranged and recorded a conversation between the woman and Trupiano. While Trupiano was describing what happened inside a room at the party, the woman interrupted and said she “passed out.”

Trupiano responded, “Yeah”, but then went on to say that she had given him consent.

In addition to the confusion over when the alleged victim passed out, speculation rose over whether or not she had a boyfriend and was making a false rape accusation as an excuse for cheating.

But, Pfarr asserted that she did not have a boyfriend.

“I searched her phone, talked to her friends, her roommates, [and what they said] was confirmed by the information on her phone,” Pfarr said.

On May 12, Trupiano agreed to go to the police department, accompanied by his attorney. When taken into custody, Trupiano did not make a statement to police.

Pfarr viewed his silence as a sign of guilt.

“Usually guilty people are the ones who don’t want to talk to us, from my experience,” Pfarr said.

After three months of investigating, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office decided not to file charges.


80 Comments

  1. Cindy says:

    CASE POINT, I find a curious enigma between the percentage of those who have expressed “indignation” over Pharr’s equating or interpreting Trupianos’ refusal to co-operate as a synonymous indication of guilt, as compared with the public sentiment surrounding Paul Flores (the number one suspect in the Krisitn Smart investigation)? In both these cases, the suspected perp invoked their 5th amendment right, thus refusing to co-operate with a criminal investigation where they were a “high value” person of interest.

    What I find odd here is that in the case of Flores, an overwhelming majority of the public believe that Paul Flores is responsible for the disappearance of Kristin Smart. Likewise, it’s common to hear, ” if he isn’t guilty, then why does he refuse to talk to the police” or ” why has he invoked his 5th AR, what goes he have to hide”. This rhetorical question is frequently raised and my sense has always been that the question is an item that is publicly perceived as an added validation of his guilt , not unlike an additional piece of circumstantial evidence!

    The enigma here is, why all the indignation in this current case surrounding Trupiano and not with Paul Flores? I suspect that in the overall court of public opinion, silence is always perceived as an indication of guilt rather than an innocent suspect simply invoking his 5th amendment rights for the hell of it ! ?????????? That’s something to think about considering that defendants often don’t take the stand in their own defense and while the jury is always instructed not to consider it, I wonder how many verdict’s it has influenced when a juror reached a 50/50 stalemate?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

    • MaryMalone says:

      Unless we are detectives working for SLO, like Pfarr, we can’t really say whether or not his experience with suspects is true or not.

      It is highly likely, however, that our experience with suspects differs greatly with those of a detective.

      Whether or not Pfarr’s opinion is true or not, we all have constitutional rights which include not answering police or detective questions unless certain conditions are met. If Pfarr doesn’t like it, too bad. It’s our right, and there’s not much he can do about it.

      I just don’t see what the big deal is. It seems that a big deal is being made out of one statement out of a long op-ed piece.

      Pfarr is frequently quoted by in the news. In an article entitled SLO PD STILL WORKING TO CRACK 20-YEAR-OLD-CASE, Pfarr says:

      “We haven’t forgotten about it.” said Pfarr. “I won’t be happy retiring until I can go and see Marina’s parents and explain to them what happened and that we caught this person.”

      Do you think this means that he LITERALLY won’t be happy retiring unless the perpetrator of this crime is caught? Highly doubtful, IMO. I imagine he will be very happy to retire.

      I think we should be damned happy that SOMEONE in SLOCity government is willing to stand up to the asininity of the DA’s decision about the latest of several Cal Poly rapes.

      Just my opinion…your mileage may vary.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Publius says:

      Folks, there’s no need for an apostrophe when making something plural. When you say, “I wonder how many verdicts . . . ,” that’s ALL YOU NEED TO SAY. An apostrophe makes something POSSIVE in nature, or it aids in creating a CONTRACTION. This is material presented in elementary and middle school. When you demonstrate that you don’t grasp it, you don’t do yourself, or your position, any favors.

      Moving on from English to Civics, there should be no such thing as a “50/50 stalemate” in any juror’s consideration of a criminal case. The standard required for conviction is proof beyond a “reasonable doubt.” Therefore, if a juror is at “50/50,” then he/she is well beyond the amount of doubt requried to return a verdict of not guilty. If the commenter’s comment was direct at the consideration of a case by a JURY, as opposed to an individual juror, the “50/50″ reference is equally inapplicable because a unanimous verdict is required in a criminal case.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • Ugluk says:

        Ah, yes. You make it all so clear, Publius. One question though: what is “POSSIVE”? Does it have anything to do with the pot calling the kettle black?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        • Kettel says:

          “Does it have anything to do with the pot calling the kettle black?”
          Yes! Yes! Yes!

          Also, the world needs less grammar fascists (and less grammar federalist’s).

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. MaryMalone says:

    I don’t know how many people know about the “safer” red-hand program (http://studentlife.calpoly.edu/safer/red.asp)…

    I became aware of it when I attended Cal Poly for my second degree. I started noticing red had prints on certain walking surfaces. There didn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason for it.

    So I asked my advisor, and he explained that the red hand was placed where a rape had occurred.

    It’s creepy to see them, more creepy to think that it is after 9:00 PM, you’re a woman and walking down the sidewalk next to the library, and you see a red hand print on the concrete.

    Even more creepy, however, is when I noticed that, during WOW week, they cover up the red hands with trash cans or whatever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

    • Typoqueen says:

      Wow, I didn’t know that. I have heard about the hand prints but I haven’t actually seen them and I had forgotten about them. Thanks for reminding me.
      Covering them up is an insult. They should not be covered.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

      • SLORider says:

        Mary has it wrong.

        The hands started after Smart and signify where a “sexual assault” was reported. Note this does not necessarily mean reported to police; it includes any report to SAFER. Red hands quickly proliferated as there was plenty of political want to “raise awareness”. Since criteria are not clearly defined one can only wonder about the severity and circumstance behind each. A grope definitely qualifies, and maybe less than that as well.

        A sad side-effect of the program (because the criteria are so vague) is that it became false common knowledge that red hands equals a rape occurred. Far from it.

        The result is many think rapes happened all over campus, and others have little faith that much of anything happened.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

        • MaryMalone says:

          I was going by the information form my adviser.

          Since, on average in the U.S., 60% of sexual assaults are not reported, it is clear that there are very likely many more sexual assaults occurring at Cal Poly than is reported by Cal Poly and the SLOPD

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • asthecrowphlies says:

      Thanks for this post MM . I , also , did not know of this program . What is the admin thinking ! The WOW kiddies are already enrolled in Cal Poly . If this is going to make someone leave this college then so be it . This is the kind of program that may help young women become more aware of protecting themselves and consequences of their actions . More so than listening to what some old fart would say in a blog .

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

      • asthecrowphlies says:

        I got to thinking that maybe the college is hiding the hand prints as to not upset the parents . Hey ! this is not the land of the Main Street Light Parade , it is not perfect , but still pretty good . Your kids do not have to grow up into the real world . You can take them home and shelter them for the rest of your life anyway . They could live in your closet at the retirement home .

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

        • SLORider says:

          Poly sweeps everything under the rug for Open House. Also, hand prints do not mean rape occurred.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

          • asthecrowphlies says:

            Thanks for the heads up makes sense . I am just hoping that seeing the hands may make a young woman say ” hey I would appreciate it if you would walk me …. or I know you are the designated driver tonight could you make sure I don’t ….

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  3. Ugluk says:

    Central Coast Resident convinced SLOPD detective should keep his (allegedly) big mouth shut.
    September 12, 2011
    By UGLUK

    Central Coast resident Ugluk said SLOPD detective Chad Pfarr “absolutely” crossed the line by (allegedly) slandering Cal Poly graduate Joseph Trupiano by insisting he raped a woman, despite the recent decision by the district attorney’s office not to file charges. Although a three-month investigation failed to show enough evidence to bring Trupiano to trial, Pfarr (allegedly) insists that he is right in his assertion. “Anyone who wants to exercise their constitutional rights is obviously guilty; I mean, why would you not freely answer questions by law enforcement? And anyone wanting to exercise their right to counsel is hiding something. Would that I were judge and jury – this nonsense about “rights” would be OVER, son!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

    • SLORider says:

      Nonsense.

      Did you research your ‘article’? Do you know WHEN Pfarr spoke? Was it before or after the D.A.’s decision? Do you know if Pfarr spoke verbally in an interview or was it a written report???

      Are you sure that Pfarr’s words didn’t come from the original report to the D.A.??

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

      • Ugluk says:

        Er…T’was an attempt at humor. Sorry it fell so flat….

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  4. sloslo says:

    It’s nice to see that CCN is once again filling in details that the Tribune and other major news sources left out. The Tribune story focused heavily on defense allegations that came from Trupiano’s fellow frat boys in an attempt to circle the wagons and save him from prosecution. This article makes it clear that the detective in this case investigated all these allegations and found them to be untrue.

    It is also amazing to me that people are treating Trupiano’s phone statements to the victim as the facts of what happened. His phone statements were not made to a law enforcement officer nor while he was under oath, so he had no risk of perjury and every reason to lie about what happened.

    Detective Pfarr has every right to talk to CCN about this case and explain his investigative procedures. There have been questions in the media about why Trupiano was arrested but never prosecuted, so Pfarr is justified in explaining his investigation that led to Trupiano’s arrest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

    • MaryMalone says:

      ITA about Detective Pfarr having a right to discuss his own findings and conclusions, and how they differ from the SLOCo DA’s decision to prosecute.

      This is especially true considering the fact that there are a few high-profile local LE/first-responder officer cases in the headlines, where officers have committed heinous attacks on citizens, but were then coddled by their own departments.

      There has been a silence from the officers who work alongside the officers who committed the citizen attacks, and that has taken a toll on the public’s previous view of the first responders as being people who are stand-up guys/gals–i.e., the “good guys.”

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  5. Vagabond says:

    While being astounded at the sheer stupidity of this police officer’s statement, I would have been even more astounded if a police officer would make a statement that he made a mistake in arresting someone.
    Yep I arrested that person even though I wasn’t sure that they broke the law. You never hear that one do you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 7

    • SLORider says:

      >>”I arrested that person even though I wasn’t sure that they broke the law. You never hear that one do you.”

      You hear that all the time: “for suspicion of ____”

      An officer doesn’t have to be sure. In fact you’re criticizing one who says he is… which is both bizarre and conflicts with your position, it seems.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

    • MaryMalone says:

      Just a point of clarification…Chad Pfarr is a detective.

      I don’t know if locally there is a perceived big difference between the officers and detectives. There was in the LA County Sheriffs Department.

      The detective, especially in smaller departments, often work on every part of the case, so they know the ins and outs. The officers–not. Officers are our first line of defense. Detectives develop the case by investigations, etc.

      The DA decides which cases to prosecute. Unfortunately, the DA’s decision is much more politically influenced than are the decisions and opinions of the officers and detectives involved in the case.

      Therefore, I think Pfarr has every right–and duty– to talk about the case. He worked it. He knows what the findings were.

      The perception I have of SLO is the firefighters and police get coddled and very preferential treatment if accused of a crime. We have two vivid cases discussed here at CCN recently. One case, Atascadero PD officer Cramer, so far has had a free ride for his attempted murder of a disabled man. Mason had a free ride for months.

      So to have a rash of rapes at CalPoly go unprosecuted–really, it’s just too much for the public to be expected to tolerate. It’s a huge insult–slap in the face–actually by the DA to the public.

      I’m hoping Pfarr spoke out with the approval–or at least tolerance–of his superiors. If not, that makes him even more of a hero in my book.

      It some instances, especially associated with one’s employment, it takes balls the size of oranges to speak truth to power. Detective Pfarr’s efforts to let the public know that there ARE detectives on our side is a good public outreach measure, IMO.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  6. slowtime says:

    What an outrageous statement! ; “Usually guilty people are the ones who don’t want to talk to us, from my experience,” Pfarr said. This statement by this detective is Prejudicial and inflammatory. This public statement will stay with him throughout his career. Defense Attorneys will impeach him on future cases now. Silly man.
    Did this detective miss the 5th amendment training he received at cop school? How about Miranda vs Arizona, ah… the constant legal updates he gets from PORAC? Just because a suspect “lawyers up”, does not mean he is guilty. What it does mean is that the Detective has to do his job and find proof to present to the DA that the perp did the crime. This burden of proof is on the state. Innocent people are innocent. Guilty people get off sometimes.
    Sounds like this detective wants to convict people because they won’t talk to him. Boohoo. I myself don’t trust the police anymore, but I don’t do anything wrong. All I have to say is; “been there, done that. (on the other side, and I know exactly how slpd operates).”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 12

    • SLORider says:

      >>”Usually guilty people are the ones who don’t want to talk”

      That’s an absolutely true statement, prefaced with a qualifier that you ignore. Nothing impeachable whatsoever in making that statement.

      Then you go farther and claim he wants to convict people because they won’t talk. HUH??? He discussed the case in detail and is far more familiar with it than you or I. It sounds more like he is familiar with the interviews and evidence and drew a conclusion. My conclusion might be the same or different, but I am not intimate with the details and I presume you aren’t either.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

    • MaryMalone says:

      From Pfarr’s point of view, that may be the case.

      If it is true, then he should be able to provide a few instances where those reluctant to speak with detectives turned out later to be guilty.

      It certainly appears that was the case in Cramer and Mason.

      Also, I’d be interested in why you think Pfarr giving that opinion would “prejudicial.”

      The DA weinered out on the prosecution of the case, other recent CalPoly rape prosecutions, Road-Rage Cramer’s attack on Summers (the disabled man) and sure seemed reluctant to prosecute the Mason-the-Cowardly-Firefighter case…until media pressure and pressure from the public built up. I think the last election was a wake-up call to the local LE administrators and the DA, indicating this kid-glove treatment of rapists and first responders who attack citizens is taking a bitter toll on the relationships between citizens and local first responders.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

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