BELFAST, Maine — Over the course of a long day at Waldo County Superior Court Monday, jurors for William A. Wiley’s child sex abuse trial first heard a young woman give detailed, often graphic testimony about what she says she endured seven years ago at the hands of the former Searsport Elementary School music teacher.
Then the 10 women and five men of the jury spent more than two hours watching an emotional videotape that documented Waldo County Sheriff’s Office Detective Jason Bosco’s first interview with Wiley on April 15, 2009.
The jury trial of Wiley, 41, is expected to take two days, with Superior Court Justice Ann Murray presiding.
According to the victim and prosecutors, the abuse occurred almost nightly over a period of roughly six months in 2004, when the victim was 12 and a family member living in his home.
Wiley was indicted in May 2009 on 10 counts of unlawful sexual contact and one count of gross sexual assault.
Waldo County Deputy District Attorney Eric Walker told the jurors in his opening remarks that they had to keep in mind that the now-20-year-old woman they would see on the witness stand was just 12 when the abuse occurred. He then showed them a photograph of her as a child.
“There’s a lot of denials by Mr. Wiley,” Walker said. “Eventually, he comes to admit what he had done to [the victim.]”
The deputy district attorney told jurors the testimony would be difficult but necessary for them to determine the truth.
But Wiley’s attorney, Steve Peterson, said the evidence would give jurors more than reasonable doubt.
“He’s been accused of something awfully bad here — but they’re false accusations,” Peterson said. “This is the first chance Bill Wiley has had to tell his side of the case.”
Peterson said when the jurors watched the taped interview, they would see his client sobbing and writhing on the ground.
“It’s fair to say it’s an extremely emotional, highly charged interview,” the attorney said. “He can’t believe these accusations are being made.”
When the victim took the stand, she said the abuse began one afternoon when the seventh-grader visited Wiley’s classroom.
“He asked me if I wanted a kiss,” the soft-spoken blond woman said. “It was nothing I’d ever experienced. I didn’t quite understand.”
Then Wiley pulled her on his lap and gave her a kiss on the lips that lasted for five seconds, she said.
After that day, Wiley continued to seek her out, coming to her bedroom every night to kiss and caress her, she said. The visits continued almost nightly for nearly six months. Wiley’s actions continued to escalate, and she eventually began to touch his genitals, too.
The final incident occurred in June or July, she said, after Wiley told her they would have intercourse and he penetrated her.
“It hurt quite a bit,” she said.
The victim asked him to stop, and for the first time threatened to tell her mother. The sexual encounters stopped.
She testified that for several years, she did not tell anyone what had happened, although soon afterward she began to struggle with an array of problems including depression, an eating disorder and cutting herself.
The teen first told her boyfriend about the alleged abuse about two years ago. Then she told other friends and finally her mother. After that, the Department of Health and Human Services and police became involved.
It was hard to talk about, but it helped her to share, she said.
“It was like something I didn’t have to keep in anymore,” she said.
During Peterson’s cross-examination, he tried to show that the young woman was murky on some important details, such as exactly when the alleged abuse had begun.
“To be really honest, I don’t remember what time of year it was,” she said of the initial kissing incident.
He asked how it was that no one else living in the family’s small home had never realized that Wiley was allegedly making these nightly sexual visits to her room, and wondered how she was able to recall so few details from specific traumatic events she had described.
“It was just so long ago,” she replied.
The courtroom was intensely quiet while the woman gave brief, almost inaudible replies to Peterson’s questions.
He suggested it was strange that the woman waited years before telling anyone, even her sister, mother or various therapists, and implied that she made her accusation at a time when she was angry with Wiley.
Wiley did not approve of and refused to fund a trip she wanted to take in her senior year of high school, Peterson said.
“It was shortly after that these accusations came up,” the defense attorney said.
The woman denied that she had fabricated anything in retaliation.
After a lunch break, the jury watched Wiley’s videotaped interview with Detective Bosco.
As Wiley’s amplified sobs from the recorded interview filled the courtroom, jurors heard him reacting to the detective’s questions and accusations.
“Oh, my God, oh, my God,” Wiley said, through tears. “My life is over now.”
But Bosco told him that wasn’t the case.
“This moment right here is going to define you as a person for the rest of your life and you need to do the stand-up thing and do the right thing,” Bosco said.
After more than two hours of Wiley’s shocked denials and weeping, Bosco asked Wiley to “talk about the first time things got inappropriate with [the victim.]”
“The first time she asked me what a kiss was, she wanted a demonstration,” Wiley responded. “So I gave her a demonstration.”
It was a kiss on the lips, Wiley said, adding that the girl’s questions continued.
“I think she wanted to know how she was supposed to make herself happy,” he said. “So I told her what I thought. And then …”
“What did you tell her?” he asked.
“I told her that, um, I think I told her I guess that you rub between your legs,” Wiley said.
“OK. How did you demonstrate that?” Bosco asked.
“She kept after me and after me and eventually I did,” Wiley said. “She was the type of girl that you didn’t really say no to, because your life would be very difficult the next day.”
But when Bosco described the alleged intercourse that had occurred, Wiley began making sounds like he was going to be sick.
“I can’t go that far,” he said. “I’m not comfortable with that.”
Bosco asked shortly afterward if Wiley was admitting to things “just to appease” him.
“I’m doing what I think is best,” Wiley responded, adding that he didn’t want to put his family through the pain of a trial.
As the jurors listened to Wiley sobbing on the videotape, the accused sat at the defendant’s table clasping his hands and staring straight ahead.
The trial will continue Tuesday morning.