Woman Speaks Out About Husband's Sexual Assault
The woman who accused her own husband of raping her relives the horrific attack in the bedroom they once shared.
37-year-old Crystal Harris won a landmark victory against her estranged husband last week, when he was convicted of forcing his wife to perform a sex act, although the jury deadlocked on two rape charges. Crystal is telling her story for the first time.
"He kept saying, 'This isn't up for negotiation.' "
INSIDE EDITION's Jim Moret asked, "Could you imagine that this man could do this to you?"
"No, it breaks my heart to this day. We had experienced violence in the relationship but not rape," said Crystal.
Crystal, a financial advisor, says her once-loving marriage to Shawn Harris, a stay-at-home dad, had disintegrated into screaming fights and physical abuse at their upscale home outside San Diego.
Moret asked, "A lot of people wonder when the violence ecsalated, why didn't you just leave?"
"For me, it seemed like if there's a way to keep it together, I have to. I have to try to keep to together. But, when he hit me in front of the kids, I thought, all bets are off," said Crystal.
After that alleged incident, the couple still hadn't made up when Shawn demanded sex. Crystal had been napping in their bedroom.
Crystal said, "And I said no. He said something like, 'We are married aren't we?' I remember thinking, 'I will be damned if this is going to happen to me and I do not get this on tape.' "
So Crystal made an excuse to get into the bathroom, where she had a tape recorder in her top drawer.
"I just opened the door, hit record, and closed the door," said Crystal.
She says she then tried to get out of the bedroom, but her husband flew into a rage.
"He grabs me, pulls me into bed," said Crystal.
The tape captures 20 minutes of what sounds like a violent assault. You can hear Crystal say "no" 50 times.
Meanwhile, their two young sons were right upstairs, oblivious to what was happening. Her husband's defense? He claims that the recording isn't a crime in progress, but a game of sexual role playing.
Shawn Harris said in his testimony, "Just another opportunity to yell and scream and get our adrenaline pumping during sex."
And his attorney backs him up, saying what you hear on the tape isn't what it seems.
"Your husband's attorney was trying to tell everyone you role-played all the time," said Moret.
"Never," said Crystal.
Moret asked, "What happened to make Shawn so violent that day?"
"I suspect some mental illness. I just don't know. He always had a dark side," said Crystal.
Four days later, Crystal says that Shawn raped her again, this time right in their living room. Then, she finally called the police.
Moret asked, "What have you told the children?"
"What they know at this point is daddy hurt mommy and daddy's in jail," said Crystal.
Shawn Harris maintains that Crystal made up the rape story to avoid paying spousal support in their divorce.
"It's an insult to this entire tragedy. The only reason we're sitting here, Shawn in jail, me sitting here as a single mother, two boys with no father, is because of what Shawn did," said Crystal.