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‘He shoved a gun down my throat,’ woman said in 911 call played at former IRS agent’s rape trial

Former IRS agent James Clarke was photographed in Suffolk Superior Court on Thursday.
Former IRS agent James Clarke was photographed in Suffolk Superior Court on Thursday.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Minutes after an IRS agent dropped a college intern off at South Station, she called 911 and sobbed uncontrollably as she reported that he had raped her at gunpoint inside his car, according to a recording of the call played Monday for a Suffolk County jury.

“Take a deep breath,” the dispatcher told the woman during the July 26, 2017, call, urging her to stay calm and remain where she was because police were on the way.

“He shoved a gun down my throat and started saying a bunch of things,” the woman, who had just turned 21, told the dispatcher between sobs. She said the agent, James Clarke, was a co-worker who invited her for drinks after work, then handcuffed and sexually assaulted her. She said she had recorded some of the incident on her cellphone.

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“I was afraid if I didn’t go along with it I would be killed,” she told the dispatcher, saying he had handcuffed her for 30 minutes inside the car. “My wrists really hurt.”

The emergency recording was played on the third day of Clarke’s trial in Suffolk Superior Court. Clarke, 45, of Newton, is charged with aggravated rape, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and indecent assault and battery. At the time of the incident, he was assigned to the IRS’s criminal investigations office in Boston and worked on a Drug Enforcement Administration task force. He was placed on leave after he was indicted in March 2018.

In his opening statement last week, Clarke’s lawyer, Robert Sheketoff, said the encounter was consensual.

“The defense is not that they didn’t have sexual relations of some sort in that car,” Sheketoff said. “The defense is that it was consensual.”

Assistant District Attorney Ian Polumbaum told jurors during his opening statement that the woman’s DNA profile was found on Clarke’s 40-caliber Glock and there were injuries on the back of her throat.

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The Globe does not identify victims of sexual assault without their consent.

The woman, who took the stand for the second day on Monday, said Clarke invited her for drinks at the Kinsale pub, located across the street from the IRS office, on the last day of her summer internship. She said she assumed other co-workers would be joining them and was surprised when only Clarke showed up.

She said they arrived at the Kinsale just before 4 p.m. and Clarke paid for all of their drinks. She recalled having five mixed drinks, but acknowledged it could have been six. He drank five beers. She said she felt “wobbly” after three or four drinks. When they left the bar around 9 p.m., Clarke insisted on driving her to South Station, where she planned to catch a bus home, she said.

During cross-examination, Sheketoff suggested the woman was flirting with Clarke, a married father of three, and was thinking of “hooking up” with him before they got to his car.

“Nobody expects to have a gun stuck down their throat and be handcuffed and raped,” the woman said. “That’s not what I would define as hooking up.”

Sheketoff said Clarke removed his gun from his hip because it was “in the way” while he and the woman were in the front seat of his car. The woman said she didn’t realize he had removed his gun until he handcuffed her and it was “being shoved down my throat.”

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Sheketoff grilled the woman about texts she sent from the bar to relatives and friends in which she described herself as being “drool drunk” and boasted about meeting FBI and CIA agents. The woman said she was intoxicated and didn’t remember sending all the texts.

When asked why she texted her mother, and not police, just before Clarke dropped her off, the woman said she had convinced Clarke to uncuff her by repeatedly telling him that her family would be worried if they didn’t hear from her.

“My only thought was to contact my mother,” she said, bursting into tears.

In other testimony Monday, a woman who was hosting a trivia event at the Kinsale that night told jurors that Clarke kept “hip-checking” her during the evening and at one point showed her his gun.

Ammie Rogers, a state transportation engineer who works part-time as a trivia host, told jurors that Clarke learned during their conversation that she was licensed to carry a firearm, then pulled his shirt to the side to show his gun.

“You and I both know you can’t show that in public,” she told him. He flashed his IRS badge and told her, “I can do what I want,” she said.

After that, Rogers said Clarke “kept hip-checking me and kind of pushing me over” when he would hand her written slips with the trivia answers.

The prosecutor showed jurors security video from the Kinsale, which showed Clarke parting his shirt as he faced Rogers. It also showed him repeatedly bumping her.

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Clarke is accused of sexually assaulting the woman inside his car at the Government Center Garage and again outside South Station. The woman testified that as soon as she got out of Clarke’s car, she called a friend, who told her to call 911.

The woman was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where two detectives interviewed her.

On Monday, Boston Police Detective James Morrissey showed jurors photographs taken at the hospital, which showed the woman with red marks around her neck and on her wrists.

He said police seized Clarke’s car and gun the next day. The gun was found in the glove compartment, loaded with 15 rounds of ammunition in the magazine and a round in the chamber.


Shelley Murphy can be reached at shmurphy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shelleymurph.