, Salem, MA

Local News

June 7, 2013

Officer describes inappropriate contact, denies sexual assault

SALEM — As their sons played a Wii game together across the room, Salem police Lt. Matthew Desmond testified, he and his wife’s friend, who had been baby-sitting in the Desmond home, quietly began touching each other.

“You look tired,” the woman told Desmond, as she started rubbing his knee, he told jurors. Then her hand was on his groin, he said. He had his hand on her leg, rubbing it, he said.

Desmond said the encounter on the afternoon of June 20 was just like others the pair had had over the past year, starting with a drunken flirtation on a “booze cruise.” They were encounters that, the suspended officer told jurors, he had sometimes felt bad about but also enjoyed.

“Then I see (her son) break his thousand-mile stare at the TV,” Desmond told jurors in Salem Superior Court, where he took the stand in his own defense yesterday against charges of rape and indecent assault and battery.

Closing arguments are scheduled for this morning.

Desmond told jurors that when he noticed the boy changing position, he pulled away and put his hand in his pocket, as she jumped up and announced to her son, “We’ve got to go.”

Desmond didn’t think the boy had seen anything, he testified under questioning by defense attorney Tom Drechsler.

But the woman, he said, was in a panic. “He’s going to tell,” Desmond quoted her as saying. She told Desmond they would have to tell their spouses before the boy said something.

“I don’t need this (expletive),” Desmond said he told her.

“Don’t put this on me,” the woman allegedly responded.

“It’s not my fault,” Desmond said he told her.

“She said, ‘We’ll see whose fault it is,’” Desmond testified. And then the woman was gone.

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