Trial begins for Salem man accused of kidnapping, torturing and raping woman for six weeks
The trial of a man accused of kidnapping, torturing and raping a woman for nearly six weeks began Tuesday in Polk County Circuit Court.
The alleged victim gave grueling testimony, saying the defendant, 48-year-old Ronnie Lee Jr., repeatedly told her she couldn't leave unless she was in a body bag.
Police said they uncovered the house of horrors in a well-to-do neighborhood off Marvin Court Northwest in Salem.
Officers said Lee, who has a long rap sheet, orchestrated nearly six weeks of torture and rape inside the home.
In September of 2015, a woman KATU is calling Shannon told the court a friend drove her there to score heroin. KATU is not revealing her real name.
Shannon said after getting high she woke up tied to a bed naked.
She said Lee's girlfriend, Irish Boyce, 46, repeatedly beat her with a closet rod and at one point shaved her head.
Shannon said lee repeatedly raped her and Boyce sexually assaulted her, though she said Boyce appeared to be less enthusiastic.
"Many times abusers will take advantage of people who are vulnerable through their drug use," said Jayne Downing, executive director of the Center for Hope and Safety, which helps victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking in Marion County. "We see that quite often ... kidnapping -- for us it's if you're forcing someone to stay with you or forcing them to stay in a place they don't want to be."
Shannon said for nearly six weeks Lee and Boyce repeatedly threatened her life, gave her drugs and tortured her as her family filed a missing person report.
In late October of 2015, Shannon said Boyce's daughter called police to the house to do a welfare check.
When officers got there they said Boyce told them she was afraid Lee would assault her if she didn't do what he said.
Boyce pleaded guilty to second-degree assault last year and is awaiting sentencing later this month.
Now Lee is on trial for 34 charges including rape, sodomy and kidnapping.
In the past, he's been convicted of crimes including robbery, assault, drug possession and coercion.
"I'm always mortified when anyone has been mistreated. That's why I do the work that I do," Downing told KATU. "There is help available for them."
Lee pleaded not guilty to all of the charges he's facing.
His attorney suggested Shannon had multiple chances to leave, a claim she denies.
If you or someone you know is a sexual assault survivor, help is available through a variety of group's listed by Oregon's Sexual Assault Task Force here.