Charles Oliver

A police photo of Charles Oliver. (Woodstock Police Department)

Jurors watched a 12-minute video Tuesday of a Woodstock man engaged in sex acts with a woman who prosecutors say was one of eight he sexually assaulted — but what happened off-camera may be central to whether the jury finds him guilty.

Charles Oliver, 45, is accused of assaulting the woman in 2012 after she responded to an ad he placed on Craigslist and they agreed that he would pay her $200 for sex.

As the first witness to testify at the first of Oliver’s trials, the woman described how Oliver, who she said used the alias “Steve Block,” picked her up at a Rosemont train station and drove her to his home.

Similar to what authorities said other alleged victims have claimed, the woman said Oliver was “calm and agreeable” until he took her to his basement, where she said his demeanor changed drastically.

There, she testified, he yanked her by the hair, pulled her to her knees and told her that “things were going to be going his way from now on, and I had no say in what was going to happen.”

“I was scared,” the woman said, seeming to avoid eye contact with Oliver in the McHenry County courtroom. She said she repeatedly said no and tried to leave but couldn’t get out.

Oliver’s attorneys began their opening remarks by saying the woman “is not a victim.” They said that she consented to meet with Oliver and exchange sex for money and did not report the alleged assault to police. They said she and Oliver began engaging in sex acts during the car ride, questioning why he would have needed to force himself on her.

And they noted that, on the video, there is no indication that Oliver threatened, restrained or beat the woman, and no indication she tried to stop him.

But the woman said that, by that time, she was “already afraid.”

“I was not consenting. I was allowing it to happen because I believed if I didn’t, I would be harmed,” she said.

She also said Oliver refused to wear a condom, despite that being part of their agreement. The woman went to a Chicago hospital the next day to be checked, and the hospital alerted authorities to a possible sexual assault.

The woman, who is in her early 20s and was attending college at the time of the alleged assault, said it was the first time she had ever answered an ad for sex.

McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Sharyl Eisenstein said Oliver told authorities that he paid the women, “so I could do whatever I want to them.”

Oliver was arrested in January 2013 and charged with assaulting two women he met through online ads. He was released on bail a short time later but rearrested the following month and charged in three more alleged sex assaults. In August, he was charged in a sixth case, and earlier this month was formally accused in two more cases, bringing the total to eight. He was also charged last year with harassing a witness, after the husband of one of his alleged victims claimed Oliver confronted him at his workplace while Oliver was out of jail on bond.

Oliver is now being held in McHenry County Jail in lieu of $4 million bail. He is to be tried separately in each of the cases.

triblocaltips@tribune.com | Twitter: @TribLocal