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Convicted Winchester man earns November retrial

Union Leader Correspondent

June 23. 2014 10:45PM

KEENE — A Winchester man convicted on accusations of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in 2007 will be retried in Cheshire County Superior Court in November.

In Sept. 2009, Gregory Collins, 46, was convicted of a pattern of felony sexual assault on a teenage girl and sentenced to no more than 20 years and no less than ten in state prison.

Final pre-trail hearings are set for Oct. 28 and a trial is scheduled for November, according to court documents.

In a June 3 conference in Cheshire County Superior Court Judge John Kissinger’s chambers, held with the prosecution and defense attorneys, it was agreed Collins would continue to be detained without bail.

“However, if the defense requests a bail hearing it will be granted as soon as possible. Further, by agreement the case is to be scheduled for retrial in November,” according to an order issued by Kissinger following the conference.

Collins was granted a retrial by the NH Supreme Court earlier this year.

Prosecutors in the first trial alleged Collins performed several sex acts on a girl he knew between April and November of 2007 in Winchester.

In 2009, he was tried on three counts of pattern aggravated felonious sexual assault, four counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault by individual acts, and one count of misdemeanor sexual assault.

The girl, who was 14 at the time of the alleged abuse, testified during the 2009 trial that Collins assaulted her “probably almost every week,” according to the April 18 NH Supreme Court opinion.

In its opinion, the court found that Collins did not receive a fair trial since his former attorney, Lisa Wellman-Ally, failed to object to testimony from an expert witness, the girl’s therapist Robert Fusco.

During the 2009 trial, Fusco testified he had 42 years of experience treating seriously traumatized abused and neglected children.

He testified that the complainant’s behaviors “fit perfectly into the same kind of behavioral symptoms that we would see for a child who had been sexually abused.”

Fusco testified that, as a result of the girl’s January 2008 disclosure to him about the 2007 sexual assaults, he realized that “we were no longer dealing with ... a major depressive disorder,” but rather a post-traumatic stress disorder on a child who had allegedly been sexually abused.

Fusco also testified, without an objection from the defense that the girl’s disclosure “was the missing piece,” in his treatment of her.

The court said, “In effect, Fusco was allowed to opine that the complainant was a victim of child sexual abuse. Her behaviors, he testified, “fit perfectly” with those of a child sexual abuse victim. After the complainant disclosed the sexual assaults, Fusco diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder caused by alleged sexual abuse.”

The court said his testimony constitutes a “clear example of the type of unreliable evidence that we have held should be excluded from criminal trials.”

The court said the defense’s failure to object to the testimony undermined Collins’ constitutional right to a fair trial.

Courts Crime Keene

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