BY JULIE MANGANIS
---- — PEABODY — Sometimes, the attention was “cool,” the young woman, now a college freshman, admitted to jurors.
Frederick Wojick, who was dating her mother, would take the girl and her young friends, all around 9 to 12 years old, out to late-night meals at McDonald’s.
“We were the cool girls,” she recalled thinking at the time, she told jurors hearing evidence in Wojick’s trial on charges of indecent assault and battery and dissemination of obscene material to a minor.
But the conversation always turned “creepy,” she said. Wojick, a Peabody police officer on trial in Lawrence Superior Court on nine counts of indecent assault and battery and two counts of disseminating obscene material to a minor, would pepper them with stories about his sex life, then ask them questions about their interest in sex. At some point, Wojick told the girl he wanted to be her “first.”
Eventually, her friends stopped visiting the family’s home, she said.
And soon, as Wojick spent more time with her family, then moved in with her mother, things got worse. Wojick would pull her onto his lap as he viewed pornography on his computer, sometimes moving her around.
Other times, she testified, Wojick would offer to “taco” her in, a term the family came up with for tucking the children in by rolling them in a blanket. But then, she said, he would climb atop her.
Then there was the time she was invited to spend the night backyard camping in a tent with Wojick and his daughter from another relationship. During the night, he made her touch him inappropriately, she said. “I didn’t know what to do,” she said.
The incidents and constant comments about her body went on for years, she testified under questioning by prosecutor Kate MacDougall.
One morning when she was 15, Wojick pinned her to a bed, pulling at the stretchy yoga pants she often wore, until she screamed and her mother came to the room, she said.
Wojick told the woman he was just “kidding around.” Moments later, after the girl’s mother left for work, he did it again, she said.
“I didn’t want to ruin my mother’s happiness,” she said.
Her mother had chalked it up to “Fred being Fred.” And, the woman’s mother admitted to jurors, she knew Wojick, now 49, was sometimes inappropriate with her daughter, acknowledging that she knew he had touched her inappropriately.
But while the mother confronted Wojick, she never went to authorities.
“He was the police,” the mother testified, emphasizing the word “was.”
Wojick and his attorney, Thomas Drechsler, contend that the allegations were made only after a falling out with Wojick over his failure to intervene in the drunken-driving arrest of the teenager’s boyfriend, a young man the couple did not approve of her dating.
It was during an argument between the young woman and Wojick, about a week after her boyfriend was found guilty, that she told Wojick she didn’t like what he had been doing and saying, Drechsler told jurors in his opening. He suggested that the allegations were concocted in retaliation for his decision not to help her boyfriend.
But both the young woman and her mother testified yesterday that they never called police.
Instead, it was Wojick himself who reached out to a friend on the department, Sgt. David Bonfanti.
Bonfanti yesterday told jurors that Wojick told him he was being kicked out of the home.
The teenager “didn’t feel comfortable with him living there,” Bonfanti told the jury. Wojick wasn’t specific, he said, and when “I asked him if she was accusing him of anything,” Wojick didn’t say she was.
Instead, Wojick allegedly told Bonfanti “he wishes he was more like a father than a friend.”
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.