ELLSWORTH, Maine — A man facing a charge of gross sexual assault was friends with his victim but allegedly grabbed her by the throat while he forced her to have sex, a jury was told Wednesday morning in Hancock County Superior Court.
The trial of Joshua Busby, 21, of Mount Desert, began Wednesday morning in Ellsworth. A jury of 11 men and one woman was told Wednesday that Busby and the victim, who is now 20 years old, had been hanging out with friends and drinking at a house in Mount Desert on the night of Jan. 21, 2008. The victim said she had a few beers and some shots of peach brandy before she passed out, only to wake up during the night in a bedroom of the house with Busby on top of her. They were having sex, she said.
‘“I don’t remember going upstairs. I don’t remember going into a room,” the woman, who was the first witness in the case, told the jury. “I tried to sit up and I couldn’t.”
Busby’s hand on her throat prevented her from sitting up or from crying out, she said. She said she told him to stop and that the intercourse was hurting her but that he did not stop.
The next morning, after noticing she had a mark on her neck and then putting in a few hours at work in Bar Harbor, the victim decided to get a medical exam and to tell police what had happened, she said.
Busby’s attorney, Matthew Foster of Ellsworth, said in his opening statement to the jury that the sex was consensual. He said that after the incident, the victim became concerned that a person she was dating would find out and so made up the story about the alleged assault by Busby.
The victim did not act like someone who had been raped, Foster said. She continued to hang out with Busby, who had a corresponding mark on his neck after the encounter, and even shared a bed with him again, though without having sex a second time.
During the alleged assault, another woman opened a door to the room where Busby and the woman were having sex and both Busby and the alleged victim told her to leave, according to the defense attorney.
“There are only two witnesses who could know what happened that evening,” Foster told the jury, referring to his client and the alleged victim.
In her opening statement to the jury, Assistant Hancock County District Attorney Mary Kellett said a person does not have to physically resist a sexual assault in order to be a rape victim.
“He said at some point in this process, ‘Are you scared yet?’” Kellett told the jury.
Under cross-examination by Foster, the victim said that she initially had trouble recalling what had happened. She acknowledged having told a woman the next day that she had enjoyed the gathering the night before, but later explained that the comment was made to a customer at one of her jobs in Bar Harbor and that she said it is more to be polite than accurate.
A co-worker of the victim also testified Wednesday. The older woman described the victim as normally being a “cocky, confident young woman” but that she seemed out of sorts at work the day after the alleged assault.
The victim asked the woman for a doctor referral and then, when asked what was wrong, told the co-worker what had happened.
“‘I believe I was raped last night and I need help,’” the co-worker quoted the victim as telling her. “She was in tears. She was absolutely devastated.”
Justice Kevin Cuddy, presiding over the trial, ended testimony and sent jurors home for the day around 12:30 p.m. because of inclement weather. The trial is expected to resume at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.