Del Mar man accused of raping two women ordered to stand trial
Sean Banks faces 44 years to life if convicted
Last Updated: 194 days ago
EL CAJON, Calif. - A man accused of raping two women, including one he met on a Christian dating website, was ordered to stand trial Friday on five felony charges, including forcible rape and rape of an unconscious person.
After a two-day preliminary hearing, Judge Herbert Exarhos ruled that enough evidence was presented for 37-year-old Sean Patrick Banks to stand trial. A Superior Court arraignment was scheduled for May 13.
Banks, a Del Mar resident, faces 44 years to life in prison if convicted.
During Friday's preliminary hearing, Banks' second accuser said after meeting on Match.com, the two were on their third date in February 2009. They had dinner at the now-defunct Jack's restaurant in La Jolla. After dinner and wine, the woman, who's going by the initials R.O., said the two each had a shot in the bar.
"After having that shot, do you remember anything else in Jack's?" asked the prosecutor.
"No," said "R.O."
"R.O." talked about the moment Banks ordered the drink for her.
"Was there a time period where you were unable to see that drink?" the prosecutor asked.
"Yes," she answered.
The prosecution contends that in that moment, Banks slipped a date rape drug into the woman's drink. The next thing she knew, she said the two were back at her home.
"I regained consciousness and I was back at my home at the time and I was in the office area that was adjacent to my bedroom bent over a couch that was in there and the defendant was having sex with me," said "R.O."
"R.O." said she was furious and ordered Banks out, and he left. She said she reported the incident to Match.com, but not to police.
Banks is also accused of raping a La Mesa woman he met on the website ChristianMingle.com. That's when "R.O." said she saw a story on Banks on the news. After that, she contacted La Mesa police earlier this year to tell her story. She also said her keys turned up missing and that she never saw them again.
In cross-examination, attorney Jan Ronis questioned whether the incident was simply due to too much drinking, but "R.O." rejected that claim.
Banks' former girlfriend, whose name 10News is limiting to T.A., also took the stand on Friday. She said they dated last year, and although they are no longer dating, she still loves him as a friend.
She said she had no idea he was talking to other women and thought they were in an exclusive relationship. She continued to maintain their friendship, even though she knew he was accused of rape.
Prosecutors questioned a text message she allegedly sent to one of the women he was contacting after he bailed out of jail earlier this year. The message warned the woman that "you may be contacted by the La Mesa police regarding an ongoing investigation of Sean Banks," and told the woman not to reply to the message.
T.A. told the prosecutor that she was jealous and hurt at the time she sent the message.
On Thursday, a La Mesa woman testified she met Banks on ChristianMingle.com last year, and that he raped her during their first face-to-face meeting at her apartment.
The woman, identified as "K.K.," was the first witness in a preliminary hearing for the 37-year-old Banks.
"K.K." testified that she first communicated with Banks -- who went by the handle "Rarity" -- on Christianmingle.com last October. The woman said she responded favorably to a note in his profile that said he was a "happy person" and "liked to give free hugs every day."
"K.K." said she and Banks -- who said his name was "Rylan" -- texted almost every day until deciding to meet Nov. 21, the day before Thanksgiving.
The woman told prosecutor David Williams III that she felt safe around Banks "because all we talked about was God."
She said Banks came over around 9 p.m., bringing rum and Coke.
Within a minute of sitting on the couch to watch a movie, Banks started kissing "K.K." and touching her breast, she testified.
She said she told Banks to stop, which he did.
A few minutes later, Banks put his hand down the front of the woman's pants and she again told him to stop, which he did, "K.K." testified.
The woman -- who's in her 20s -- said Banks grabbed her arm and pulled her toward the bedroom.
"He said, 'We don't have to do anything you don't want to do,'" the woman testified. "Several things: I was scared that he would physically hurt me. I was scared that he was going to rape me and I didn't know if he would kill me. I didn't know."
Once in the bedroom, the woman said Banks pushed her onto the bed and when she tried to scoot off the opposite side, he put his forearm across her chest.
"K.K" testified that she told Banks that she didn't want to have sex but he took her pants off and sexually assaulted her anyway.
The witness said she told Banks, "Let's not do this" and screamed "Please" when he persisted, and he finally got up, got dressed and left.
"K.K." testified that minutes after Banks left her apartment, he texted her, acting as if nothing happened. She said he texted that "we'll meet another time." She responded, "I'm not interested anymore. I thought you actually wanted to get to know me as a woman of God. You set a poor example for a Godly man. I want to be led more towards Christ. Not lead into a ditch."
"I told you no and you kept pushing. That's not respectful," the woman said she texted Banks.
When Banks said he didn't know what she was talking about, the woman texted back, "I'm gonna make this a big deal. Wait and see," she testified.
Banks was arrested Feb. 11 and charged with rape by a foreign object, residential burglary and forcible rape.
It took detectives several months to identify Banks as the suspected assailant because "K.K." did not know his real name, according to police.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. City News Service contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.