Victim, 18, testifies about alleged 2012 sex assault by Dover resident
DOVER — An 18-year-old testified Tuesday that she was unable to move and “kept trying to say ‘no’” as Dover resident Samuel Coffey raped, choked and slapped her in the front seat of his truck late one night in December 2012 in Somersworth.
The teen took the stand during the first day of Coffey’s sexual assault trial in Strafford County Superior Court.
She and Coffey, 19, went to high school together and met through an extracurricular activity. The teen said she had sometimes chatted with Coffey on Facebook and would say hello to him when they passed in a school hallway.
Coffey faces 16 charges, including eight counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, allegedly forcing her to drink alcohol and then raping and choking her after picking her up near her home following a Facebook chat on the night of Dec. 16, 2012. Coffey had just turned 18 and the alleged victim was 16.
Deputy County Attorney Alysia Cassotis told jurors Tuesday that Coffey drove the teen down a wooded trail next to Willand Pond and the Winchester Arms residential development, near the Dover-Somersworth border on Route 108.
The teen said Coffey forced her to drink several beers and other alcoholic beverages, enough to severely impair her, while they sat in his truck surrounded by trees on a frigid Sunday night during a snowstorm.
The teen described the alleged assault in a shaking voice.
“I felt like an object, like he was just throwing me around,” she said. “He tried strangling me … when I was laying down, with my head against the door.”
The teen said she began holding her breath so Coffey would think she was unconscious or dead and stop the assault, then “blacked out” at one point and woke to find herself clothed and sitting upright as Coffey drove.
She said she immediately began screaming and tried to crawl away in the snow after Coffey pulled over.
“I didn’t really have a specific place in my head — (I) just wanted to get away,” she said.
Accused drove to hospital
The teen said Coffey put her back in his truck and eventually drove her to Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, where she arrived in an unresponsive state.
Cassotis said the teen’s blood alcohol level was .16 — twice the legal limit for drivers 21 or older and eight times the legal limit for drivers younger than 21.
Cassotis also said Somersworth detectives found two used condoms at the scene the next morning. Samples tested at the state forensics lab tested positive for Coffey’s DNA on a condom’s interior and for the teen’s DNA on a condom’s exterior, Cassotis said.
Public defender David Betancourt, representing Coffey, told jurors that the alleged victim was “the one who brings up alcohol” in the Facebook chat that night, and “the one who brings up sneaking out of (her) house.”
Betancourt said the teen “chose to get in (Coffey’s) truck” and to drink and have sex with him, and asked jurors to “look for inconsistencies” in her testimony.
“She doesn’t want to take responsibility for any of her actions that night,” Betancourt said, noting that Coffey drove the teen to the hospital.
“Is that the action of a calculated, brutal rapist?” Betancourt asked.
The trial resumes at 10 a.m. today.
Coffey also is charged with four counts of felonious sexual assault and one count each of second-degree assault, simple assault, unsworn falsification and prohibited sales, for allegedly providing the teen with alcohol.
Judge Steven Houran has said the trial could extend into next week.
Regardless of the outcome, Coffey could soon return to court. He is charged with aggravated felonious sexual assault in two other cases scheduled to go to trial later this year. He was indicted on four counts of that charge in September 2013, for allegedly sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in Dover in June 2013. Coffey was 18 at the time. Jury selection for that trial is scheduled for Sept. 8.Coffey also was indicted May 15 on one count of sexually assaulting a third female between June and October of 2012. The female’s age is not in the indictment for that case. Jury selection is scheduled for Dec. 8.
Conviction of each count of aggravated felonious sexual assault could result in 10 to 20 years in prison and a $4,000 fine.
The charges of felonious sexual assault and second-degree assault are Class B felonies, each with a sentence of up to seven years in prison and a $4,000 fine. Simple assault, unsworn falsification and prohibited sales are Class A misdemeanors, each with a sentence of up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.