The woman accusing a former Dallas Cowboys player of raping her almost two years ago spent a lot of her time during cross-examination Wednesday wiping away tears.
Prosecutors described her as having been sheltered for all of her 27 years, the opposite of the defendant, C.J. Spillman, 30, a well-traveled sports figure who played for America’s Team, prosecutors said.
The woman said she had met Spillman in person only once before deciding to fly from her Chicago home to spend a week with him in September 2014 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine.
Her voice cracked as she explained why she did not run away from him at the hotel.
“I’m not going to yell out to a group of people who love the sport that I had been raped by a football player,” said Mary, now 29. “Everywhere I looked there were signs about the Cowboys. People would stop him on the street so they could talk to him.”
The Star-Telegram does not usually identify accusers in sexual assault cases and agreed to use the pseudonym Mary in this case.
But Spillman was not a well-known athlete. Mary said no one in her family had heard of him — not her or her mother, who worked at a church in Chicago, or her father, who was finance director at a Ford dealership. They met in a chance encounter as summer began while Spillman was between teams, prosecutor Allenna Bangs said.
Mary lost Spillman’s number, but he contacted her constantly, Bangs said. Spillman promised not to take advantage if she visited from Chicago, Bangs said. Spillman’s promise lasted for a day.
At the hotel, Mary overheard Spillman and his agent talking about how Spillman’s former fiance told police that Spillman pulled a gun on her. Spillman was angry because he had been denied access to his children, Mary said.
After that, Mary became concerned for her safety and told Spillman that she wanted to go home. Spillman complained that he could not make flight arrangements that quickly, so she would have to spend another night.
That night, Sept. 20, Spillman sexually assaulted her, Mary testified.
Spillman’s attorney, Brian Salvant, asked Mary why she did not leave or tell someone at the Gaylord what had happened.
Everywhere I looked there were signs about the Cowboys
Mary, sexual assault accuser
Mary said she waited until she could talk to Gloria Allred, an attorney known for representing women in high-profile cases. Mary said she did not want to tell any man what had just happened to her. She said that after the sexual assault she felt stupid, ashamed and cowardly. Mary testified that she said no to Spillman, but it did her no good.
During his opening statement earlier, Salvant told the jury that he would show that Mary wanted the prestige of being with a Dallas Cowboy.
Spillman was signed by the Cowboys on Sept. 1, 2014, to help on special teams after being cut by the San Francisco 49ers.
A week after Mary reported the rape to Grapevine police, the New York Daily News reported that Spillman was accused of attempted rape in December 2013 in Santa Clara, Calif., while playing for the 49ers.
That report came the same week Cowboys Vice President Stephen Jones and coach Jason Garrett said that the team would have a zero-tolerance policy regarding domestic violence.
The Cowboys did not re-sign Spillman after the 2014 season, and he is not playing professional football.