ROCKLAND, Maine — A young girl held a horrible secret for years before she revealed that she had been the victim of repeated sexual assaults, District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau told jurors Monday morning at the start of a trial for a 45-year-old Rockport man.
The girl, now 13 years old, then testified for more than an hour Monday morning about being subjected to sexual assault on at least 10 occasions.
Erik L. Vultee, 45, of Rockport, is charged with 10 counts of unlawful sexual contact, and single counts of gross sexual assault, visual aggression against a child, sexual misconduct with a child and unlawful sexual touching.
The charges allege that the offenses occurred from 2009 through 2011 at Vultee’s home, where he was watching the child for the girl’s mother.
The girl reported the abuse in 2012 to a family friend.
The girl wept on several occasions during her testimony but was adamant that Vultee had committed the crimes on almost a weekly basis. She said he would call her upstairs to his bedroom, show pornographic movies and then ask her to undress. The girl was 8 years old when the assaults started, she said.
Vultee would then touch her private parts and make her touch his privates. Once he got on top of her and attempted to have sexual intercourse, she said.
The assaults stopped after her mother no longer had Vultee watch the girl.
The girl said she finally disclosed what had happened in 2012 after she saw Vultee with one of her younger cousins.
District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau, who is prosecuting the case, said the girl came forward because she did not want something to happen to her cousin.
Rushlau said that after the girl revealed what had happened, Maine State Police Detective Jason Andrews investigated the case and interviewed Vultee. Vultee not only denied assaulting the girl but denied ever being alone with her, Rushlau said in his opening statements.
Defense attorney Steven Peterson of Rockport questioned the girl about her allegations and asked her specifically how many times the offenses occurred, when they occurred and what his client was wearing during the assaults. The girl said she could not recall every detail but that the assaults occurred often.
Peterson said in his opening statements to jurors that there were no eyewitnesses to the assaults, no physical evidence of the assaults and no expert witnesses to testify about evidence.
Rushlau acknowledged to jurors during his opening statements that unlike the television shows like CSI, there would be no physical evidence or expert witnesses presented in this case.
Vultee was arrested in December 2012 but has been free on bail since shortly after his arrest, making his one of the older open cases in Knox County.
An attempt in December 2013 to seat a jury was unsuccessful when not enough jurors from the jury pool could be selected.
And last month, Superior Court Justice Jeffrey Hjelm denied a defense attorney’s request for the state to turn over the criminal records of all the potential jurors who might be selected for the upcoming sexual assault trial.
The trial was scheduled to last three days in Knox County Superior Court with Hjelm presiding.