Rape trial starts for former Dartmouth student - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Rape trial starts for former Dartmouth student

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Parker Gilbert Parker Gilbert

Twenty-one year-old Parker Gilbert faces up to 20 years behind bars for each of the multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault he faces.  And Tuesday the former Dartmouth College student came face-to-face with his accuser.

"I thought it was a dream -- a nightmare," said Gilbert's alleged victim.  "I didn't know what was going on. My mind was just, this is not real, this is not real, this is not real."

The incident happened at Berry Hall on Dartmouth's campus.  Prosecutor Paul Fitzgerald says Gilbert walked into the victim's unlocked dorm room last May and violently forced himself on her. "She was asleep in her own dorm room, in her own bed when she was wakened by the defendant," he said.

The alleged victim described the prolonged attack in graphic detail, including vulgar names she says Gilbert was calling her. "I just never heard anyone speak to me with that much hatred in their voice and I was terrified," she said.

However Gilbert's lawyer, Robert Cary, paints a different picture, and he says a key witness backs it up.  He said the girl's roommate was in an adjoining room, studying at the time, and heard what transpired next door. "Sounds of sex, that to her, were not alarming -- did not cause her any concern and sounded consensual," Cary said.

Both Gilbert and his accuser were at a party early that night and both had been drinking.  According to court testimony they only had a brief encounter at the party.  And while the defense attorney says his client was "wasted," he told the jury that it's actually the alleged victim who has lost sight of reality. "She is trapped.  She is trapped -- ladies and gentleman -- by a story that does not make sense," Cary said.

The trial is scheduled to last two weeks.  At this time it is not clear if Gilbert plans to take the stand in his own defense.

WCAX-TV policy is to not identify alleged victims of sexual assault

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