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Concrete Walls 

For a gay man in akron, there's no such thing as rape.

As Alan recalls the night of August 8, 2003, he clenches his teacup; his knuckles turn white.

Curled up in an easy chair in his mother's Cuyahoga Falls apartment, he pauses. "I'm sorry," he says as he breaks from his story. "Talking about it dredges up a lot of feelings I've tried to put behind me."

At around 11 p.m. that evening, he arrived at Thursday's Lounge for '80s night. The bar, near the University of Akron, is famous for its generous $3 shots and tiny, mirrored dance floor, which is usually flooded with sweaty coeds. It's your run-of-the-mill student meat market -- which left Alan, a 35-year-old gay nursing student, somewhat out of place.

So when Patrick Geiger offered to buy him a drink, Alan thought little of it. "Let me put it this way: It's not the kind of place I'd go to hook up," he says. Besides, Geiger wasn't his type.

Geiger was what you'd call a "Thursday's Lifer." He frequented the bar so often that he was sometimes called upon to serve drinks or check IDs when it got busy. Tall and dark, Geiger's football frame towered over Alan's petite physique, which appeared even slimmer in his tapered, waist-high jeans.

A David Spade look-alike prone to dramatic gestures, Alan accepted Geiger's offer. He said he was a student at Akron U. Geiger mentioned that he was a graduate. After a bit of small talk, Alan went to dance, while Geiger made his rounds.

As the night wound down and the lights came up, Geiger asked Alan if he wanted to go to his place for a little get-together. Alan said yes. He got into his car and followed Geiger, who got a ride from his friend, Shawn Zaciewski.

When the three arrived at Geiger's apartment on North Hawkins, Geiger excused himself and went outside to the balcony to make a few phone calls. Zaciewski joined him for a cigarette. Alan thought they were making sure the rest of the party was showing up.

After a few minutes, Zaciewski left, and Geiger came back inside. He asked Alan whether he wanted to spend the night. Alan said, "No, thanks" and asked to use the bathroom.

While Alan was urinating, Geiger came in and watched him. "Excuse me!" Alan shouted. He quickly zipped his pants and proceeded to leave. But before he could escape the bathroom, Geiger had cornered him.

"Do you have a boyfriend?" Alan remembers him asking. Though Alan wasn't in a relationship, he said yes, hoping it would discourage Geiger's come-ons.

Geiger told Alan that he was new in town and didn't know where the gay bars were. He asked to exchange numbers. Alan grudgingly agreed.

"Do you want to try something with me?" Geiger asked. "Just try this one thing with me, and then I'll let you go."

Alan said no, but Geiger had already begun to unfasten Alan's jeans while kissing him all over. "It made my skin crawl. All I wanted to do was go home, take a shower, and forget the whole night," Alan says.

As Geiger worked his way down, Alan struggled to get his pants back on. Geiger punched him in the nose. Alan could feel the warm blood ooze down his face. He began to cry. "I'm going to fuck you without a condom, and no one is going to hear you scream. These walls are made out of concrete," Geiger said.

"Concrete walls, concrete walls, concrete walls," he chanted over and over.

Geiger forced Alan into the bedroom, got on top of him, and tore off his clothes. As Geiger tried to have sex with him, Alan wriggled his hips out of Geiger's grasp. Geiger began punching him in the back of the head.

As the two fell to the floor, Geiger's heavy frame pinned Alan down. Geiger interchanged his kisses with jabs and slaps. Alan could feel himself losing consciousness, as the skin on his elbows was scraped away by the carpet beneath him. "If you put up a fight, I'm going to kill you and bury you piece by piece," Geiger said.

"I really didn't think I was going to live," Alan says.

As Geiger pressed the heels of his hands into his ribs, Alan wriggled around and jammed his thumb into Geiger's left eye. The move was met by a rain of fists. Alan rolled himself into a ball, until Geiger got up and went to the bathroom to examine his eye.

Alan quickly pulled on his pants and headed for the door. But before he could work his way through three different locks, Geiger caught up to him. As Alan opened the door, Geiger shut it on his hand. "I'm going to fucking kill you," Geiger said.

The two played a game of cat-and-mouse around the sofa until Geiger, reaching the point of exhaustion, stopped to strike a deal with Alan. If Alan would make a recorded statement that he attacked Geiger first, then he would let him go. Alan agreed.

As Geiger inched toward his bedroom, Alan flew out of the apartment with his face covered in blood and nothing but jeans on. Alan remembers Geiger grabbing a knife and following him.

He ran down the hallway, banging on doors and screaming for help. Finally, another tenant, Eric Moore, answered his door. Alan told him he'd been raped. As Moore went to grab his phone, he tried to shut the door on Alan. "No! Please don't leave me alone," Alan begged.

Rather than let Alan in, Moore stepped out into the hallway with his cell phone to call 911. On the dispatcher's tape, Moore reports the rape, while Alan screams frantically: "I just got away from him . . . he has a knife, he told me he was going to fucking kill me!"

They both pause briefly as the tape records a faint voice in the background. Moore hands the phone to Alan, who reveals to the dispatcher that Geiger had stepped into the hallway and said, "I've called the police, and they're going to arrest you for what you did to my eye." Geiger then disappears into his apartment before the cops arrived.

Alan thought that was the end of the fight for his life. It was just the beginning.

Detective Joe Urbank wasn't assigned the case until two days after the incident. Though a detective is usually summoned to the scene of a crime, Urbank says that short staffing kept him from going to Geiger's apartment. He also says that a detective's caseload is unusually high in August, when warm weather invites more trouble. The investigation was soon beset by other problems as well.

Urbank's first interview with Alan lasted four hours and ended in a 10-page statement. Alan also gave Urbank a napkin with Geiger's phone number, which Urbank later lost. (To protect the victim, Scene agreed not to print Alan's full name.)

The next evening, Urbank went to Geiger's building to interview witnesses. He talked with Moore, who had been the only witness after the attack. Moore revealed that he has a brain tumor, which stunts his short-term memory.

Urbank also had trouble lining up a photo display of suspects to show Alan. It took him almost two weeks just to locate a picture of Geiger. The BMV didn't have a photo on file, nor did the Summit County Sheriff's Department. Urbank didn't find a mug shot until he discovered that Geiger had been arrested in Jackson Township for domestic violence against two male relatives. Only then was Alan able to formally identify his assailant. Even Urbank admits that "it took a lot longer" than usual.

Geiger also remained elusive. The first time Urbank called him, a week or so after the incident, Geiger was cooperative and admitted that Alan's clothes were still in his apartment. He agreed to give the items to Urbank. He also consented to a DNA test, but wanted to talk to his attorney first.

The next time Urbank called, Geiger said that he still didn't have an attorney. The third time, Geiger said he was busy. When Urbank asked to meet face to face, Geiger consented, but then didn't show up for their appointment.

Urbank finally tried to get a search warrant, but the city prosecutor's office wasn't enthusiastic. Prosecutors argued that the issue wasn't whether Alan was at Geiger's apartment or not -- both men confirmed it. The real issue was who attacked whom.

A month passed, and Geiger still hadn't been arrested. Urbank and Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas DiCaudo assured Alan that he would be able to sign charges soon, Alan says, but every time he expected the paperwork to be ready, there was always an apology.

"It was one excuse after the other," says Alan. "First they blamed it on the [FirstEnergy] blackout, then they said they were busy, then they said that they couldn't get ahold of me, then they just stopped returning my calls." Alan was beginning to suspect that they weren't interested in helping a gay man.

Alan "always felt like we were treating him differently because he's gay. We weren't," says DiCaudo. "We just wanted to line up our ducks."

But DiCaudo was clearly concerned about his main witness. Records show that Alan had filed 10 previous police reports. When Urbank investigated those complaints, however, he didn't find someone prone to crying wolf. "He was the manager of a coffee shop," the detective says, "so he had to file lots of police reports -- people goofing off, people stealing money from the tip jar, that sort of stuff."

Alan worked at Angel Falls Coffee Co., a gay-friendly Akron haunt. DiCaudo remembers hearing about Alan before the attack. So does Chief City Prosecutor Doug Powley. What they heard wasn't very commendable.

Two attorneys in DiCaudo's office, Gerald Larson and Elizabeth Merryweather, were Angel Falls regulars, who stopped in every morning before work. For many of Alan's more conservative customers, his eccentricities made for colorful water-cooler chatter. Alan's flamboyant mannerisms and tales of his pet monkey, Little Feisty, had preceded him. As he served up early morning lattes in shirts more appropriate for a night at the club, he'd often chat about Little Feisty's antics as if his primate pet were his firstborn.

Powley must have heard the worst. "Have you heard that he feeds LSD to his monkey?" Powley asks. "Maybe the investigation took as long as it did because he's such an interesting character?"

Alan says that he never fed the monkey drugs. "Why are they saying things like that? These people don't even know me."

Either way, prosecutors were worried that their victim might be a nut, which wouldn't bode well for their case.

Afraid the attack would be forgotten altogether, Alan consulted lawyer Tom McNerney. He also applied for a restraining order against Geiger, but was denied. "They told me that I couldn't get a restraining order because there wasn't any crime," Alan says. "And they said there wasn't any crime because I hadn't signed any charges. I was totally fed up."

McNerney says the investigation took longer than most, but he didn't have the sense that police or prosecutors were dragging their feet.

Then again, there was ample evidence on which to base charges. Police knew the perpetrator's identity and where he lived. There was also clear evidence that Alan had been brutally beaten. Polaroids taken by nurses at St. Thomas Hospital show him cut and bruised beyond recognition.

But for straitlaced lawmen confronted by a victim who appeared to them as a stereotypical queen, a collision of cultures had to be navigated. "For a lot of people, the idea that men can be raped is just not possible," says Eric Resnick of the Gay People's Chronicle. "If Alan were a woman, the investigation would probably have moved along a bit faster."

But Urbank says that Alan's story was always consistent. Compared to Geiger's attempts to avoid the detective, the delay in his arrest began to look suspicious.

"I don't know why, but from the beginning, I always thought that there was someone watching out for this guy," Alan says.

Lou Jenkins thinks so too.

He's known Geiger since he was in grade school. Geiger refers to Jenkins as his uncle.

"[Geiger] has struggled against authority all his life," Jenkins says.

Geiger was three years old when he was adopted by Pete and Sandra Geiger. Pete was the religion reporter at the Akron Beacon Journal for two decades. Devout Protestants, he and his wife raised about 20 children, most of whom were adopted.

While growing up, Geiger and his father often butted heads, Jenkins says. Geiger frequently ran away. "They are both very dominant people. But when you raise around 20 kids, you have to be that way," Jenkins says.

On the other hand, there's a sense that Geiger lived a charmed life. He traipsed around Europe for a year after graduating from the University of Akron. When he returned, he left home for the party land of New Orleans, where he first came out of the closet and was arrested for possession of cocaine, according to Orleans Parish court records.

Christianity was central to Geiger's upbringing. When Jenkins speaks of Geiger, there's much talk of Jesus. "He manipulates Jesus to get what he wants. I do the same. It's my hope and prayer that he develops a friend in Jesus."

Around the same time that Geiger was finishing college, his parents moved to Mongolia to become missionaries. But because evangelizing in China is illegal, they refer to themselves as English teachers.

Since they left, they've had little to no contact with their son. "We have been in Northern Asia for the past 10 years and hence are truly unable to comment on Patrick's current situation," they wrote in an e-mail to Scene. "He left home in his early 20s . . . we have no actual information about his circumstances. We are unable to contact him, of course."

In 2002, Geiger returned to Akron. He would later say that he "came home to die." He was homeless and had contracted HIV. He also suffered from colon cancer, which was in remission. With no place to go, he went to Jenkins. "He was up-front with us. He told us he had AIDS. We weren't afraid. Jesus is our healer," Jenkins says.

Geiger stayed with Jenkins for a year. He helped around the house, and Jenkins gave him advice. "I told him, 'Don't go to the bar; that's where you'll meet folks trolling for trouble.' He didn't take it. Now he's in trouble."

The night of the incident, the cops knocked on Geiger's door for nearly 45 minutes before leaving. Geiger had disappeared.

The next day, Geiger visited his boyfriend, Allan Lane, whose apartment was in the same building. With his eye still mangled, he told Lane that he let a homeless man spend the night. The man crept into his bedroom and attacked him while he was sleeping, he claimed.

Geiger told Lane that he fled the scene because he was afraid the police wouldn't believe him. That night, he slept in his maroon Voyager van. The cops never checked the parking lot.

He asked Lane to lie for him and claim that he had come straight to Lane's apartment after the attack, and that then they both had gone to the emergency room. In fact, Geiger's eye wasn't treated until three days later.

Geiger couldn't have picked a worse conspirator. "Lane was such a horrible witness," says Urbank. "He was supposed to be an alibi witness, but he couldn't even remember exactly when Geiger showed up at his place. His and Geiger's statements totally differed."

Geiger told Urbank that he wasn't gay -- a point quickly refuted by his boyfriend. "Let's put it this way," Lane told Urbank. "He's an odd bird, and I'm an odd bird. But [Geiger's] not willing to admit it yet."

Lane and Geiger had only known each other for a few months. They bonded over the fact that they were both HIV-positive. The 43-year-old Lane referred to Geiger as his "life partner." However, Geiger wasn't completely out of the closet -- nor did he like to reveal that he had HIV.

When Urbank spoke with Shawn Zaciewski, the drinking buddy who had driven Geiger home the night of the incident, he claimed not to know that Geiger was gay. He also didn't know that Geiger had HIV. "[Geiger] told me he was going to call girls for an after-hours party," Zaciewski would later say.

There was also the weirdly anonymous 911 call that Geiger made after Alan fled the apartment. During his conversation with the dispatcher, Geiger's speech is slurred, and his words are cryptic: "Is this the police? This gentleman just came over to my house and he gouged out my eye and ran off screaming. I met him at a bar. I didn't know if he was on drugs. My father is on the way to get here. He's an editor at the Akron Beacon Journal. I'm just going to go to the hospital. I want you to make note of this, that I called you."

When the dispatcher asked if he wanted the police or an ambulance, Geiger quickly responded, "No, because I don't care. I'm gay, and that's not what we do. I wanted him to go away. He wouldn't. He said he was in the military. He's a small guy, but he sure knows how to fight."

Alan says that he was never in the military. Also, Geiger's father was thousands of miles away in Mongolia and no longer worked for the Beacon. And the gaping holes in Geiger's story were only widened by Lane. "When everything was put together, [Alan's] story was a lot better than Geiger's," Urbank says.

Geiger was arrested on October 2, 2003, for kidnapping, rape, and felonious assault. It had been almost two months since the attack occurred. But Alan's nightmare was still far from over.

After Geiger's arrest, the investigation leading up to the trial was so riddled with mishaps that it made the preliminary investigation seem efficient.

Three months after the attack, DNA evidence still hadn't been processed. Because of the delay, Judge James Murphy decided to let Geiger go free, under house arrest. "No one was happy at all. I thought he was going to take off," Urbank says.

During the month that Geiger was in the Summit County Jail, Lane had been managing his finances. Geiger had secured a $550 money order for Lane to use to pay off his debts, but Lane pocketed the money instead.

Geiger was furious. He was also getting nervous, because Lane was apprehensive about lying for him on the stand.

By early January, the DNA test results still hadn't arrived. The delay forced prosecutors to drop the charges and re-indict Geiger to extend the investigation.

The day the charges were dropped, Geiger and Lane supposedly had an argument about money. Geiger tied up Lane and beat him, breaking his ribs and puncturing his lungs. Lane was held hostage in his apartment for two days before he managed to get to a phone. "He beat the crap out of his alibi witness," says Urbank. "What a moron. It was perfect."

Geiger was taken back into custody, but not for long. Within two days, he was accidentally released, due to a paperwork error. He simply walked out of jail and returned to his apartment for a nap. Police found him asleep there a few days later.

By the time his trial rolled around in April, Geiger's defense was in trouble. He no longer had an alibi. When Lane took the stand, he explained that Geiger had asked him to lie.

"The only good thing about Lane was that he admitted to being a lousy liar," Urbank says.

Though prosecutors had pushed to have both attacks tried together, Judge Murphy rejected the request. The jury had no knowledge of the attack on Lane, which occurred under Murphy's watch. (Murphy declined comment.)

Geiger's DNA was found all over Alan's chest, penis, and rectum. Bruising was also found in Alan's anus. The only problem was that the DNA evidence from Alan's anus had not been processed.

Lynda Eveleth, a forensic scientist with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification, said that because Geiger's DNA was already found on other areas of Alan's body, there was no need to do further tests.

But in a trial that would boil down to "He said, he said," it would prove a fatal blunder. The jury, already skeptical that one man could rape another, had no certain proof that Geiger had actually penetrated Alan. "An abrasion on the inside of his anus -- because of [Alan's] lifestyle, the jury might have thought, 'Well, you can't say it came from this incident,'" Urbank says.

There was also inconsistency between the testimony of Alan and Moore. While Alan remembered that he had gone downstairs to let the police in the building that night, Moore remembered otherwise. Though the reporting officer said that Alan had let him into the building, the fact that Moore had a brain tumor, which disrupted his memory, was never revealed to the jury.

Jurors were skeptical, as was made evident by a small piece of paper that one passed to Judge Murphy: "If Geiger felt he was being attacked, was it illegal for him to hold [Alan] against his will?" the juror asked.

The defense played up Geiger's allegations that Alan had asked for a place to stay because he was homeless. Also, a nurse at St. Thomas had recorded that Alan was homeless.

In fact, Alan was between homes. Though he still had access to his previous apartment, he was in the process of moving back in with his 80-year-old mother, so that he could save money while going to school. The problem was that she was living in a subsidized seniors' home, and technically, he wasn't allowed to stay there. Concerned about putting his mother in jeopardy, the nurse suggested that he simply claim he was homeless.

The defense also insisted that Alan had been drunk. Geiger's lawyer pointed to the police report, which states that Alan was "intoxicated." However, when the reporting officer took the stand, he said that Alan had not been visibly drunk. He said only that Alan had been drinking. A breathalyzer test was not conducted, and the police had allowed Alan to drive himself to the hospital.

Still, an even greater question remained. Though Alan claimed that Geiger had chased him with a knife, there was no evidence to back his story. "We didn't really have anything that proved Geiger attacked [Alan] with a knife," Urbank says.

That is, until Geiger took the stand. The prosecution had no trouble discrediting almost every one of his statements, from his father picking him up to go to the hospital to his assertion that Alan had consented to sex, knowing that he was HIV-positive. In fact, Alan didn't discover Geiger's HIV status until months after the attack.

Finally, Geiger was questioned about the knife. Rather than simply deny it, he said, "They're no brand. They're JCPenney. A steak-knife set. It's just a cheap thing. I shouldn't say that. They were a very nice gift from my aunt."

"He was unbelievable," Urbank says. "He put the knife in his own hand."

But the jury still wasn't completely buying Alan's story. Geiger was found guilty of kidnapping and felonious assault for having sex with someone without disclosing that he had HIV.

But he was found innocent of rape.

After the trial, prosecutor Kevin Mayer talked to the jury. "They only partially believed [Alan]," he says. "They believed that it started out consensual and then changed. They didn't know if he found out afterwards if Geiger was HIV-positive or during sex, and then freaked out and tried to leave. I was surprised, but it's their prerogative. I don't understand their logic, but what the jury believes, the jury believes."

"You can't really have abduction without the rape," adds Urbank. "Geiger left DNA on the guy's rectum. That's good enough for me. Why they didn't do the rape, I don't know."

Geiger was sentenced to 10 years in prison -- 4 for kidnapping and 6 for assault. He was labeled a sexually oriented offender, meaning that, unlike a sexual predator, police will not be required to notify his neighbors when he's released.

In November, he pleaded guilty to attacking Lane. He got six years, which will run concurrently with his first sentence.

Jenkins talks to Geiger weekly. "Several times he's said that this is the best place for him at the moment, because its tough for him to say no to the passions and appetites that have been driving him for years," says Jenkins. (Geiger didn't respond to Scene's many interview requests.)

For Alan, a decade in prison isn't good enough. The fact that the jury thought some part of their sexual contact was consensual remains the greatest blow.

"That jury judged me just as much as they judged him," Alan says. "They probably think that gay men are just so addicted to sex that they'll have sex with anyone -- like I'm some slut with no taste in sexual partners. It just added so much insult to injury."

He still has the piece of notebook paper on which he scribbled his final statement to the court. As he rereads it, his voice quivers with anger and grief. "Patrick Corbett Geiger demanded to have sex with me, and I refused to have sex with him . . . There was never anything the least bit safe, sane, or consensual about what happened to me. The physical and emotional pain and fear I have passed through are indescribable. Before this incident, I had no reason to worry about HIV."

Though he took a hiatus from his studies, he returned to school last semester and continues to pursue a nursing degree. He proudly notes that he made the dean's list.

But the rape still "messes with your head," he says. "Like if you're trying to do work or study, all of sudden, it just sneaks up on you, and you can't focus on anything else."

Since the attack, Alan has been tested for HIV numerous times. He's still negative.


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