Public Safety

Judge rules no additional details needed to explain sex assault with gun by Iowa City man

IOWA CITY — A judge ruled Tuesday that it isn’t necessary for the prosecution to include more details of a sexual abuse in the trial information or minutes of testimony that explains how an Iowa City man sexually abused a woman with a gun. 

Quint Meyerdirk, lawyer of Quartez Watson, 39, who is charged with second-degree sexual abuse, asked for a bill of particulars — more details to explain what makes placing a BB-gun inside a woman “sexual in nature.” The prosecution claims Watson did this while demanding the woman’s password to her phone. 

Meyerdirk said the prosecution should be required to include in the trial information or minutes of testimony more of the circumstances surrounding the incident that suggests this is “sexual in nature.”

“Putting a BB-gun inside her may not be a sex act at all,” Meyerdirk said.

Assistant Johnson County Attorney Rachel Zimmermann said there was “more than enough” facts in the minutes of testimony. 

Zimmermann, in her written resistance, pointed to Iowa law that says sexual abuse can be sexual activity by use of an “artificial sexual organ or substitute” — in this case a gun.

The minutes of testimony also show that Watson and the woman were in an intimate and abusive relationship, and that he sexually assaulted her after she refused his demands for sex and for her to turn over her cellphone to him, Zimmermann said.

Court documents also show the woman’s DNA was found on the gun.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Jason Bessler said it would be unusual to place more details in the trial information, which states the charges, and will be read to the jury at the start of the trial. 

He said it’s clear, based on the charging document and minutes of testimony, that the prosecution is accusing Watson of using the gun to sexually assault the woman.

According to a police report, the woman told investigators that Watson threatened to shoot her in the head with a handgun and choked her until she passed out on May 21. When she regained consciousness, he ripped off her underwear and sexually assaulted her with the gun, while threatening to fire it if she didn’t give in to his demands, the woman told police.   

Watson’s trial is set for Nov. 6 in Johnson County District Court. 

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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