MORE

Noel Bertrand found guilty of airport rape despite claiming rough sex

Big photo below.
Big photo below.

The alleged rape in a Denver International Airport concourse of a young woman scheduled to interview for a job at a convent was among the most shocking stories of last year -- and now it appears to have a resolution. A jury has convicted Noel Bertrand of the crime, rejecting his claims that the act represented consensual, if notably rough, sex.

In April 2011, as we've reported, the Oregon woman, then 22, was said to have been en route to Illinois when she missed her connecting flight at Denver International Airport -- and because she didn't have enough money to stay at a hotel, she decided to spend the night at DIA.

Denver International Airport.
Denver International Airport.

While there, the woman subsequently told reporters, she met Bertrand at Chef Jimmy's Italian Bistro and Spirits on Concourse A. Everything seemed fine at first -- but when the bistro closed, she said he followed her down an escalator and asked for a kiss. When she told him no, she asserted that he forced a lip-lock anyway, then lifted her by her own sweat shirt and slammed her to the airport floor before beginning to sexually assault her from behind.

This horror show wasn't over quickly. By her estimate, it continued for ten minutes,and while the actual assault wasn't captured by surveillance footage obtained by CBS4, the video on view below does show custodial workers strolling past the gate in question. One woman can be seen pausing, then moving on. They're said to have alerted security, but two Frontier workers came upon the scene first and intervened before cops arrived. Bertrand's response? He's quoted as saying, "Don't you know the difference between rough sex and fighting?"

Continue to read about Noel Bertrand's trial and see a video featuring the surveillance footage.

 

Bertrand reportedly stuck to this story throughout his trial, and his attorneys presented evidence that called into question the woman's account of the incident. Specifically, a janitor said he'd seen Bertrand and the woman sitting together, which the defense portrayed as undermining her claim to have been immediately attacked after rejecting his advances.

He also claimed that the woman had given him a note at the bistro inviting a sexual encounter, although the missive wasn't discovered by authorities.

These assertions were countered by information from the woman that hadn't previously surfaced. As noted by the Denver Post in the item linked above, she said Bertrand had grabbed at her chest and chewed on her mouth -- assertions that likely resonated with the jury when considered in tandem with photographs of the bruises she sustained in her encounter with Bertrand.

Nonetheless, the case wasn't a slam dunk. As noted by the Denver District Attorney's Office, jurors began considering the matter on Thursday afternoon, and the verdict didn't come down until yesterday morning -- a deliberation span of more than a day.

In the end, however, Bertrand was found guilty of sexual assault by force, an offense for which he could draw what's described as an indeterminate life sentence. He'll find out more specifically what that means at 8:30 a.m. on November 30.

Look below to see a larger version of Bertrand's mug shot, followed by a CBS4 report from last year featuring the aforementioned surveillance footage.

Noel Bertrand.
Noel Bertrand.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Wes Specht: Sex assault bust for 'Wild Man' Alameda High coach, 3 staffers put on leave."


Sponsor Content