Dartmouth sex assault case goes to the jury
HAVERHILL — The attorney for a former Dartmouth College rugby player charged with sexual assault against a student while both attended classes there last spring said Wednesday the alleged victim lied repeatedly in the account she gave college and Hanover authorities about what had happened to her.
A Grafton County prosecutor countered that the woman, who was an 18-year-old Dartmouth freshman at the time of the alleged attack, had no reason to lie, and said it had taken a great deal of courage on her part to come forward publicly and accuse the upper classman.
Assistant Grafton County Attorney Paul Fitzgerald and Robert Cary, defense attorney for Parker C. Gilbert, squared off in closing arguments before Judge Peter H. Bornstein gave the case to the jury to begin deliberations just after 3:30 p.m.
The woman, who left the college after the alleged attack, told authorities — and testified last week — she was sleeping in her dormitory room in the early-morning hours last May 2 when she awoke to find Gilbert having sex with her.
Prosecutors claim the sex was consensual between two students who saw each other earlier in the night while they were drinking at a campus fraternity party.
“You cannot believe what the plaintiff is telling you in this case,” Cary said. “Any version of what she said is not true. This was drunken, awkward college sex. Like the other characters in this story, Parker had too much to drink,” he told the jury.
But Fitzgerald said events that night were much more sinister than Cary portrayed them. He said when Gilbert spotted the freshman at the fraternity, she “at that point was in his crosshairs,” and he “did the unthinkable that night,” sneaking into her dorm room and attacking her while she was “zonked out” from drinking and lack of sleep due to studying.
Fitzgerald said when the woman ran into Gilbert a day or so later, she had such a strong negative reaction to him that she vomited. That, Fitzgerald said, prompted Gilbert to send her an apologetic e-mail, in which he claimed he had little memory of what had happened between them, but he “must have acted inappropriately,” Fitzgerald said, reading from a copy of the e-mail.
“He remembers plenty,” Fitzgerald told jurors. “The most powerful corroboration in this case has come from the defendant himself,” Fitzgerald said, regarding the e-mail message.
Bornstein drew playing cards to select one man and one woman as alternate jurors. The remaining six men and six women left the North Haverhill courthouse for the day just after 4 p.m., and are scheduled to resume deliberations at 9 a.m. today.