Rape trial of former Ellsworth student begins

Posted Dec. 14, 2009, at 8:27 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:52 a.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — The trial of a former Ellsworth High School student who is accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student after she had consumed a large amount of alcohol at a party got under way Monday in Hancock County Superior Court.

Logan Will, 19, is facing a charge of gross sexual assault in connection with the June 4, 2008, incident at a small cabin on Stone Dam Road in Eastbrook. The gathering, which was attended by 15 to 20 Ellsworth High School students, occurred after graduating seniors had attended a high school awards dinner earlier that even-ing. The next morning, they were scheduled to practice for their graduation ceremony.

Hancock County District Attorney Michael Povich told a jury of six men and seven women, including one alternate, that the alleged victim had consumed so much alcohol that she was unable to consent to engaging in a sexual act. The woman, now 19, did not remember the event the next day and had to be told about it by people at the party who discovered and interrupted the alleged assault, according to witnesses who testified Monday.

“At no time did she consent,” Povich told the jury in his opening statement. “She was essentially unconscious.”

Will’s defense attorney, Walter McKee, of Augusta, told the jury in his opening statement that despite what some party attendees say they saw, there is more to the story than eyewitness accounts.

Police collected extensive forensic evidence in the case, examining clothes, a blanket, a mattress cover and a sleeping bag, among other items, according to McKee. They could find no concrete physical evidence that there had been any sort of sexual contact between Will and the woman, he said.

“Science doesn’t get drunk. It doesn’t get stoned. It doesn’t have friends. It doesn’t have enemies,” McKee said. “The forensic evidence is just not there.”

Several people, all former or current Ellsworth High School students, testified Monday in the trial. Some of them testified how Will, the alleged victim and others had been drinking large amounts of alcohol. The woman became ill after a while and was taken upstairs and put to bed, they said. After that, others at the party checked on her every few minutes to make sure she was OK.

After several checks, someone went upstairs and allegedly found Will on top of her.

A friend of the woman, Emily Baranello, told the jury Monday that, after someone else made the initial discovery, she and others went upstairs, where she saw Will having sex with the victim.

Baranello said she ran over to the bed and pulled Will away from her friend. Both Will and the woman landed on the floor, she said. Someone grabbed Will and took him downstairs and then outside while Baranello and others tried to get the woman dressed, she said.

“She wasn’t helping us at all. She wasn’t responding,” Baranello said. “She was dead weight.”

A few minutes later, Baranello confronted Will outside, she said.

“I started screaming at him and kicked him,” Baranello testified. “I couldn’t believe what he had been doing.”

Will was taken down the road and dropped off at a gravel pit to get him away from the cabin, the victim and others, according to witnesses.

The next day, after their friends told them what had happened, Will and the alleged victim met outside Ben’s Store on Route 172 in Ellsworth, where the alleged victim yelled at Will and slapped him, Baranello said. Will denied raping anyone, she said. Baranello said he alternated between saying he didn’t remember and that he was just trying to crawl over the woman to get into bed.

Testimony is expected to resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday. The trial is expected to continue into Wednesday.

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