A woman who says she was raped by an ex-University of Delaware baseball player accused of multiple sexual assaults testified Wednesday that she was surprised, then anxious and afraid, when her first meeting with him quickly escalated from consensual kissing to physical force and violence.
The woman testified that soon after she arrived at Clay Conaway’s house in June 2018 and sat on his bed, he began kissing her, then removed her clothes and began aggressively fondling her.
“It hurt really bad,” she said, adding that she felt like she couldn’t breath and started to cry.
“I told him that it needed to stop and I needed to step away,” said the woman, one of six whom Conaway, 23, is accused of sexually assaulting between 2013 and 2018. He faces a minimum of 15 years in prison and a possible life sentence, if convicted of first-degree rape.
The woman, 21, said Conaway got up, checked his phone, gave her back her underwear, then left the room to call his mother, leaving her sitting on the bed. She picked up her own phone and tried to text “OMG” to a female friend, but it failed to transmit until more than 20 minutes later.
Conaway then returned to the bedroom, pulled her on top of him and started kissing her again, the woman said.
“I freaked out again and asked for my clothes back and I asked just to leave,” she said, adding that Conaway stuck out his arm and said there was no reason to leave.
The woman said after again fondling and kissing her, Conaway then put his hand on her throat.
“That’s when I really felt like I was not safe, and I felt uncomfortable to try and fight back,” she said, adding that Conaway pulled her hair so violently that her neck was completely extended. She said he then pinned her legs and raped her.
“I felt like I couldn’t do anything. There was no way I could leave,” she told jurors.
Under prosecution questioning, the woman acknowledged that she faked an orgasm.
“I pretended that I was enjoying it so he would stop. I faked an orgasm, because it didn’t seem like anything else would work to make him stop.”
Early the next morning, Conaway sent two messages to the woman, telling her she was one of the sweetest girls he had ever met and that he hoped they could keep hanging out together.
“I really don’t mind waiting a while to have sex if that’s what you want ok?” Conaway wrote, later adding “I really wanna see you again but if you think it’s better that we don’t, then just tell me.”
Three weeks earlier, the woman had shared her excitement about connecting with Conaway on the online meeting site Bumble.
“OMG I matched with a Delaware baseball player. … He’s so hot I’m screaming,” she texted to a friend.
But on the day she drove to Conaway’s house, she texted a friend expressing concerns, saying she knew Conaway just wanted to have sex, even though she had told him she was on her period and didn’t think she was comfortable having sex when meeting someone for the first time. The woman said Conaway had assured her there was no pressure.
She also testified that despite her misgivings, she had considered her planned meeting with Conaway “too good to be true.”
“I just thought he was out of my league,” she explained under cross-examination.
“He was an attractive baseball player for a college. … It just seemed like he had other people to choose from,” she said.
The woman also acknowledged that she realized Conaway was not looking for a “super serious” relationship when, less than 24 hours after connecting with her online, he sent her a nude photograph of himself, which she and a female friend joked about in texts.
The woman is expected to finish testifying Thursday. Defense attorneys have indicated that Conaway also will testify.