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Trial of former Dartmouth student heading into second week

Special to the Union Leader

March 23. 2014 6:24PM

HAVERHILL — The sexual assault trial of a former Dartmouth College student and rugby player from London, England — expected to last two weeks in Grafton County Superior Court — completed its first week Friday afternoon with the investigating Hanover Police detective on the witness stand.

Parker C. Gilbert, 21, is facing seven counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault against a woman from Connecticut who was an 18-year-old Dartmouth student last spring when, she told police, she awoke in the early-morning hours of May 2 to find Gilbert attacking her sexually in her Berry Hall dormitory room.

Defense attorneys claim that what took place that night was a consensual sexual encounter between two students, both of whom had been drinking and who had seen each other earlier in the night at a campus fraternity party.

But the alleged victim testified last week that Gilbert had no permission to enter her unlocked room. After she was awakened, he continued assaulting her despite her telling him several times to stop, she said in her report to Hanover police last spring and again on the witness stand last week.

The assault charges are all “special felonies” under New Hampshire law and each count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Gilbert also faces a Class A misdemeanor charge of criminal trespassing.

Gilbert — who has dual U.S. and British citizenship — withdrew from the college and had a New London, N.H., mailing address when a grand jury indicted him last July, according to court records.

The state’s case appeared to suffer a setback Thursday when Nancy Wu, the alleged victim’s dormitory mate last spring, was questioned by Gilbert’s attorney, Robert Cary.

Wu said they lived in a “two-room double” of adjoining rooms with a door between their quarters.

She testified that although she was in her room, awake, and within earshot when Gilbert was allegedly attacking her dorm mate, she said didn’t hear anything occurring that she would have described as a sexual assault.

“You didn’t hear any crying during the sounds of sex?” Cary asked. Wu replied that she hadn’t.

“You certainly didn’t hear the sound of anyone falling to the floor,” Cary said.

“Not that I remember,” Wu said.

“You certainly didn’t think that anyone was being attacked,” Cary said.

“No,” Wu responded

“There was nothing out of the ordinary, other than the sounds of sex?” he asked.

“No,” Wu said.

Detective Capt. Frank Moran, who is also the Hanover Police Department’s acting chief, testified Friday that he investigated the woman’s complaint last spring and interviewed more than 30 people, including many Dartmouth students he contacted by email during May and June.

Grafton County Attorney Lara Saffo, the prosecutor, went over Moran’s written report with him in detail and focused on the alleged victim’s account to Moran during a May 13, 2013, interview at the police station of what had occurred 11 days earlier in her room.

Regarding the vocal level of the woman’s alleged protests, Saffo pointed out she told Moran during the interview that she’d been asleep, and even when awake, remained groggy, confused, tentative, and apparently not entirely clear on what was happening.

“I said, ’No, no, no,’ but I wasn’t forceful about it,” Saffo had Moran read, quoting what he said the student had told him during the police station interview.

The woman also told Moran that Gilbert called her vile names, and said, “Tell me that you like it,” during the alleged attack, Moran testified.

At one point, the woman said she had fallen to the floor, and told Moran that what Gilbert had been doing to her, “really, really, hurt, and he was like, ‘sorry, sorry, sorry,’” according to the detective’s narrative.

“I know I told him to stop; I told him ’enough,’” the alleged victim told Moran, but she said he did not stop.

“No, I’m almost done. Get back on the bed,” she said Gilbert told her.

The trial is scheduled to enter its sixth day today.

Crime, law and justice University Hanover

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