Louisa man guilty of rape at campground

Jason Karsten

Jason Karsten

A Louisa man was convicted of raping a woman at Small Country Campground after the pair went for a late-evening swim.

Judge Timothy Sanner said in Louisa Circuit Court on June 6 that Jason Karsten, 38, had lied to investigators shortly after the incident and some of his testimony during the trial did not ring true.

Karsten and the victim went swimming in the campground lake at around 11 p.m. on June 30, 2018, after spending much of the day consuming alcohol with friends and family. The victim told the other members of the group she wanted to go “skinny dipping,” swimming without clothes on. Karsten walked to the lake with her, while the others said they would catch up.

The victim, 39, testified in court that Karsten grabbed her, held her down in the shallow water, and raped her. Karsten said in court that the sexual encounter followed his attempt to “catch” the victim, because he thought she was unstable and might drown.

“Parts of his testimony seemed contrived, such as his attempt to catch her,” Sanner said as he rendered his judgment. “The defendant took this as a license to have sex with her.”

Karsten initially denied having sex with the victim at all. He changed his story after Louisa County Sheriff’s Office Det. Todd Lytton advised him that DNA evidence could prove it, but insisted the sex was consensual.

“All I can say is that I was panicked about being accused of rape,” Karsten said of his initial denial.

Mike Harris, a private investigator hired by Karsten’s attorneys, Graven Craig and Torrey Williams, said in court that the victim told him she had used the word “boundaries” with Karsten before the rape began.

“I remember telling him he was in my bubble, my space,” she said.

(Article by David Holtzman)

This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s June 13, 2019 issue.