Editor’s note: The Observer’s typical policy is to avoid identifying people named as victims in sexual assault cases. In this case, Kaitlin Warner chose to be identified after being offered the option to remain unnamed.
A years-long court battle is continuing over sexual-assault allegations involving a local business owner, and the woman who says she was raped wants to speak for herself.
In August 2014, a Bernalillo County grand jury indicted Rio Rancho gun shop owner Andrew Davis, now 37, on charges of raping and inappropriately touching a girl between the ages of 13 and 16 in July 2008 and January 2009 in Bernalillo County. Davis denied the accusations, and his wife and his attorney at the time publicly said the accuser lied.
The girl, Kaitlin Warner, now 28, maintains that she told the truth.
“I’ve never lied about what happened with Andrew against me,” she said. “I don’t want to have my reputation and name tarnished over something that’s already been so hard for me to go through.”
Santa Fe attorney Gary W. Boyle, who represents the Davises, said Davis is someone everyone should respect and has endured attempts at persecution.
“We pretty strongly believe Mr. Davis is a solid member of your community, a businessman and a family man,” Boyle said.
In October 2015, Davis pleaded no contest to the criminal charges, meaning he didn’t admit guilt but wouldn’t fight the accusations, according to court documents. In January 2016, he was sentenced to five years of probation with no jail time, allowed to keep his gun shop and required to complete sex-offender treatment at his own expense.
This February, the charges were dismissed after he completed the probation requirements.
In 2017, Warner filed a civil lawsuit against Davis on accusations of rape, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and against his wife, Carly Montgomery Davis, on accusations of defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In 2019, a civil jury delivered the verdict that Davis didn’t rape Warner, but that he and his wife were liable for defamation and emotional injury, and should pay punitive damages, according to Bernalillo County District Court documents.
Warner was awarded compensatory and punitive damages of $27,000 from Andrew Davis, and $37,000 from his wife.
Warner and her attorney, Joe CampBell, have appealed the jury’s verdict that Davis didn’t rape her, and the Davises and Boyle have appealed the jury’s verdict that the couple is liable for defamation and intentional emotional injury, Boyle said. The New Mexico Court of Appeals will eventually rule on those appeals.
Warner, now living in the Pacific Northwest, said Davis raped her when she was 14 and 15 years old. Davis and her father were friends and co-workers at one point.
“I have tried to keep myself personally and professionally out of this as long as I could,” she said.
During the criminal court process, Davis accused Warner of making the accusations because of a grudge her father, Chuck Warner, held against Davis. Warner said that’s not true, and that contrary to the Davises’ accusations, she does not have a criminal record.
During the criminal-court process and on the witness stand during the civil trial, Warner said, Davis denied having sexual contact with her. A couple of months before the civil trial, she said, one of his previous attorneys asked her to settle the lawsuit for $50,000 and sign a document saying any sexual contact was consensual.
Warner’s father provided an undated court document in which CampBell responded to a request for Warner to confirm or deny whether she had consensual sex with Davis. CampBell wrote that, at the time, Warner was too young to consent to sex and was under the influence of alcohol Davis gave her.
Warner refused the settlement.
“I wasn’t going to sign something that wasn’t true,” she said. “And it wasn’t about money.”
She questioned why the previous attorney would ask her to say sexual contact was consensual if it hadn’t happened.
“And that’s what I want people to know the truth about,” Warner said.
Boyle said the civil jury’s verdict that Davis didn’t rape Warner was a “clear finding.” He also said the entirety of the verdict in Warner’s favor on defamation, emotional injury and punitive damages was wrong.
The trial court kept out evidence that would have shown the Davises believed that what they said about Warner was true, meaning it doesn’t qualify for a punitive damages award, Boyle said. He added that Warner’s claims have very technical definitions and qualifications that require proof of specific facts, which the plaintiff doesn’t have.
“We think the court should have thrown them out — it never should have gone to jury,” Boyle said.
He said that’s why he and his clients filed an appeal for a new civil trial regarding defamation and emotional harm.
He expects the state Court of Appeals to leave in place the civil not-guilty verdict regarding the rape accusations.
Getting a decision from the Court of Appeals could take a significant amount of time, Boyle said.