Man Accused Of Raping Wife Says Incident Was 'Role-Playing'

Shawn Harris Denies Spousal Rape Charges

A man accused of raping his wife told the court Tuesday that the incident was part of the couple's sexual role-playing.

Shawn Harris spoke calmly as he gave a completely different account of what he said took place between he and his wife, Crystal.

"Were you raping her at that point?" Shawn Harris' attorney asked.

"No, sir," Harris replied.

"What was going on?" the attorney asked.

"Role-playing," Harris responded.

During hours of testimony and cross-examination, Shawn Harris described a marriage filled with role-playing and the acting out of sexual fantasies.

San Diego Deputy District Attorney Judy Taschner asked Harris, "In the 'Tarzan-and-Jane' scenario, did that include forcing Ms. Harris to do anything …?"

"It was rough sex, but at no time did I force her to do anything against her will," Harris replied.

Crystal Harris described a decade-long marriage filled with abuse that came to a head in March 2008, when she said her husband choked and raped her with their two young children in the house.

"He was so serious, and given the level of violence I had experienced with Shawn already, I totally believed his threats," Crystal Harris said.

On the night of the alleged rape, Crystal Harris hid a tape recorder in the couple's bathroom. However, her husband claimed what was really heard on the tape is just more role-playing and dramatic acting of an infidelity scenario. Shawn Harris said the couple's role-playing also included a 'hooker and pimp' scenario.

"Do you know how many times she said no in the recording?" asked Taschner.

"No, but I have a feeling you're going to tell me," Shawn Harris said.

"50 times," Taschner said.

Paulette Sandler, Crystal Harris' stepsister, said, "She said he threatened to kill her and that she wanted to get a gun."

Harris admitted to prior anger management problems and domestic abuse, but his defense attorney said his wife made up the rape story to divorce her husband without having to pay support since she is the primary breadwinner.

Shawn Harris faces multiple charges, including spousal rape by force. If convicted, he could serve up to 16 years in prison.