ROCKLAND, Maine — It was around 9 p.m. June 8, 2010, when a Rockport woman heard her two Yorkshire terriers barking their “someone is at the door” bark. When she went down to see who was at her home so late, she saw Bradley Lemay.
She was familiar with Lemay, who had done landscaping work on her property, but she didn’t know why he was at her door that night, she testified in Knox County Superior Court on Tuesday morning. But “in a flash” he was in her house and had a knife pressed against her cheek. He then restrained her hands and forced her upstairs where for the next four hours he raped her, she testified on the first day of what is expected to be a weeklong trial.
The jury of 11 women and three men, including two alternates, will have to decide whether Lemay broke into the woman’s home and raped her or, as his defense attorney asserts, she let him in for consensual sex.
Lemay is also accused of trying to elude police that night at speeds of more than 100 mph, of trying to escape in July 2010 from Knox County Jail, and that same July of asking a relative to convince the witness not to testify. Lemay, whom police have called a serial rapist, faces charges of gross sexual assault, burglary, aggravated criminal trespass, criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, assault, eluding a police officer, tampering with a victim and escape.
Lemay had been released from Maine State Prison in February 2010 after having served 21 years of a 35-year sentence for 1989 convictions of kidnapping and gross sexual misconduct, according to Bangor Daily News archives.
Lemay’s attorney, Christopher MacLean, told the jury during his opening arguments on Tuesday that everything that happened on the night of June 8, 2010, was consensual. He said the alleged victim admitted to making small talk and even jokingly telling Lemay, “you better bring me flowers tomorrow — you scared the [expletive] out of me,” during the encounter that night.
This, MacLean argued, will prove that Lemay engaged in consensual sex — not rape.
“Bradley Lemay did not rape [the woman]. He did not threaten her with a knife. And he didn’t enter her house uninvited,” MacLean said in his opening argument. “He’s not guilty of any of these charges.”
But, according to the woman, who is not being identified by the Bangor Daily News, she only tried to get to know Lemay and joked around with him to get him to like her — so he wouldn’t kill her.
“I was trying to talk to him. I was doing whatever I could so he wouldn’t murder me,” she told the jury. “I wanted to be the last person on Earth he wanted to murder. I wanted to be the last person on Earth he wanted dead.”
According to the woman, it worked.
“He raped me. I did what I had to do to save my life. And I’m sitting here.”
Through his questioning, MacLean worked to paint the witness as deceitful and “a good actress” because of how she acted kindly toward her alleged rapist. For instance, the woman promised Lemay she would not call police. And she said things to Lemay like “you should have just asked me out,” but said in court that she didn’t actually want him to ask her out, she just wanted to pretend to be his friend so he wouldn’t hurt her. Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald told the jury MacLean was trying to make the lady look bad, but the lying was purely situational.
“Are you lying today?” Fernald asked the woman.
“No,” she said.
The defense on Tuesday also pointed to the woman’s behavior after Lemay left her home that night. She immediately called 911 and reported what happened. Then, when a Camden Police officer arrived and spoke with her, he asked to take her sheets.
“I love those sheets,” she said, apparently refusing to hand them over to police.
Eventually she did give up her sheets. Then she discovered her interview with the policeman was being recorded. When the police officer then asked her to write her statement for police records, she resisted, then bartered by asking for a copy of the voice recording.
“Come on, I gave you the sheets man. Can’t you give me a copy of that [voice recording] — email it to me,” she said on the recorded police interview, which was played in court.
The woman later explained to Fernald that she didn’t want to write down what happened in addition to telling police about the events.
“How many times do I have to tell this story? I don’t want to relive it again. I don’t want to think about it ever,” she said. “It was traumatic. I feel shaky even now.”
MacLean is unsure if Lemay will testify. If he does, it likely will be Thursday.