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Defense for lawyer accused of sexual assault plans to question victim's veracity

Union Leader Correspondent

July 28. 2014 7:51PM
Lawrence Buswell, 53, of Kingston appears in Rockingham County Superior Court Monday where he faces charges of felonious sexual assault. (JAMES A. KIMBLE/Union Leader Correspondent)

BRENTWOOD — The defense for a Plaistow-based lawyer on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy on his boat will be allowed to call into question the teen’s veracity in front of a jury.

Lawrence Buswell, 53, of Kingston is heading to trial Tuesday morning on two counts of felonious sexual assault for allegedly raping the boy while in a boat on Country Pond in Kingston in the summer of 2011.

Defense lawyer Lincoln Soldati argued during a hearing on Monday that the alleged victim had lied multiple times about his interactions with Buswell.

“His credibility is the issue in the case,” Soldati said during the hearing in Rockingham County Superior Court.

Soldati maintains that the boy’s testimony is the only evidence that prosecutors have.

Judge N. William Delker agreed with defense lawyers that they can call multiple witnesses to testify about the boy’s veracity over objections made by prosecutors at Monday’s hearing.

Buswell is accused of giving the teen two shots of Smirnoff Sour Apple Vodka, before taking him out on a boat on Country Pond in Kingston to go swimming, according to prosecutors.

The alleged sex assault occurred while the boat was stationed off a cove on the east side of an island, according to court documents. Police learned about the alleged assault last Aug. 10, 2012 when the boy’s father contacted Kingston police.

The boy and his family had been camping at Country Shores Campground for the last 11 years. Buswell is the owner’s son, police said.

This week’s trial is the second criminal case pending against Buswell in superior court.

Buswell struck a plea deal in June that will allow him to plead to lesser charges for causing a fatal boat crash that killed 54-year-old Erick Eskeland, of Merrimack. Eskeland was piloting his Sea Ray boat with his family aboard on the night of May 26, 2012 before it was struck by Buswell’s boat around 11:30 p.m., prosecutors said.

Buswell was indicted on charges of negligent homicide and three counts of second-degree assault. He is expected to plead guilty to four counts of misdemeanor vehicular assault. He will spend half of a 12-month county jail sentence behind bars if a judge approves the deal.

A jury was selected for the sexual assault case on Monday. Opening arguments are set to begin Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.

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