SALEM — It was the first day of summer, forecast to be a hot one, and the kids had a half-day at school, the woman recalled.
Her friend, Suzanne Desmond, had invited her to spend the afternoon at her Salem home, where their children could play in the Desmond family’s pool while the woman, 45, baby-sat for Suzanne and another friend while they were at work. The three women and their husbands had been close friends for several years.
Nearly a year has passed since that afternoon of June 20, and the three women were once again in the same room, but this time it was the Salem Superior Court, where Desmond’s husband, Matthew Desmond, is standing trial on charges of rape and indecent assault and battery.
Matthew Desmond, 42, is currently suspended from his job as a Salem police lieutenant as a result of those charges.
In her testimony yesterday, the woman told jurors that on that afternoon, as she sat on a sofa next to the Desmonds’ 3-year-old son, Matthew Desmond arrived home from work. As the older children played Wii games nearby, the woman testified, she told the 3-year-old that she was leaving. He got upset, she said, so she began to tickle him.
Suddenly, Desmond “leaned over,” the woman told jurors. “I felt him brush my chest.”
“I wasn’t sure at that point what had just happened,” she testified under questioning by prosecutor Kate MacDougall. Then, in an instant, “Matt leaned over and stuck his hands between my legs,” the woman continued.
“I put my hands on his arm and tried to push it out,” said the woman, who began crying on the stand. “I told him to stop. He just kept putting his hand up further and further.”
As she testified, Suzanne Desmond shook her head, her arms folded.