Not Guilty Verdicts End Gilbert ’16 Trial

gilbert

Photo courtesy of DartBlog.

Parker C. Gilbert ’16, a former undergraduate student and member of the men’s Rugby team, was found not guilty of five felony charges of aggravated sexual assault and one misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass on the afternoon of Thursday, March 27th, at the Grafton County Courthouse in North Haverhill, New Hampshire.

The alleged incident took place a little less than a year ago in the complainant’s dorm room in the McLaughlin cluster. Gilbert was charged with, among other things, forcible and surprise oral, vaginal, and anal penetration of the complainant. He was arrested nearly two weeks later on May 15, 2013, after the complainant decided to press charges with the Hanover Police.

The trial began almost a week and a half ago on March 18, 2014. Witnesses, including the victim’s roommate, other undergraduates (including the victim’s floormates and acquaintances), Gilbert’s rugby teammates, law enforcement officials, and medical and forensic experts were called to testify. Gilbert opted not to take the stand in his own defense. Grafton County Attorney Lara Saffo led the prosecution, while Gilbert’s defense team included attorneys Cathy Green, Robert Cary, and George Ostler.

Key testimonies included that of the complainant’s roommate, who was the sole witness and was sober during the time of the incident. Most importantly, she testified to not having heard anything that seemed out of the ordinary for consensual sex, other than the words “don’t push me.” The defense used this testimony and other minor inconsistencies in the accounts of the complainant and other witnesses to attempt to cast reasonable doubt on the complainant’s allegations of assault. The prosecution’s most important witness was the complainant herself, who spent the better part of a day and a half on the stand during the first week of the trial, in which she was cross-examined at great length about the details of the alleged assault.

The 12-member jury began deliberations two days ago, in the late afternoon of March 26, after the judge dropped two of the felony charges of sexual assault out of the original seven. Following half an hour of deliberation that day and an additional four hours during the morning of the 27th, the jury foreman delivered the six not guilty verdicts in the early afternoon, clearing Gilbert of all charges.

 

— The News Editors