Sparks fly as Bodenweiser's accuser testifies

Intense cross-examination draws anger, frustration
June 4, 2014
Joe Hurley, defense attorney for former Delaware state Senate candidate Eric Bodenweiser, enters Sussex County Superior Court early Wednesday morning. BY RON MACARTHUR

The third day of testimony in the trial of former Delaware state Senate candidate Eric Bodenweiser ended with Bodenweiser’s alleged victim furious as he left the courtroom.

Speaking of the second time Bodenweiser allegedly abused him, the victim testified he went back to Bodenweiser’s home; he said he did not know exactly why he went back. The victim said Bodenweiser answered the door wearing gym shorts saying he had a new toy to show the victim, who was about 11 at the time.

The victim, now 37, said Bodenweiser took him to a back bedroom. Hurley asked him why he went back there nearly a week after Bodenweiser had allegedly forced the boy to perform oral sex on him.

The victim said he was curious.

When they got to the bedroom, Bodenweiser showed off his new tanning bed, the victim said. Hurley asked if his curiosity outweighed his fear of being sexually abused again. The victim said he did not think it would happen again.

“I looked up to him,” the victim said.

Hurley shot back that the victim looked up at Bodenweiser while he was being abused.

“That’s a smart ass thing to say,” the victim said, his voice rising.

From there, Delaware Superior Court Judge E. Scott Bradley stopped the testimony, asked the victim to step down, dismissed the jury and took a break. The victim stormed off, muttering to himself. Later, Bradley would tell the jury to disregard the exchange.

After the day’s testimony, Hurley said he did not intend to insult the victim with his comment. However, he also referred to the victim as “the accuser” and to Bodenweiser as the victim.

Hurley spent much of the day trying to poke holes in the victim’s timeline of abuse and contradictory accounts of how and where the victim said Bodenweiser abused him.

Hurley recounted the victim's testimony of the first encounter between the victim and Bodenweiser, which started with viewing a pornographic movie and then escalated.

Hurley questioned how many times Bodenweiser showed the victim pornographic movies before the first sexual encounter, which varied in the victim’s various statements to prosecutors and Delaware State Police Detective John King.

The victim said what he was trying to say was that a pornographic movie was playing when the first encounter happened. He said the variations in his story arose because he had tried to forget about the abuse he suffered 25 years ago, and that it was only recently that he started to remember things.

The victim said to Hurley, “How can you defend someone like that?"

Hurley said, “Because he is presumed innocent.”

Hurley then asked about what happened after the first encounter, questioning variations in the victim's accounts. As the questions mounted, so did the victim's frustration.

For his part, Bodenweiser, as he has all trial long, sat stoic during testimony, facing forward and listening, occasionally jotting notes. Bodenweiser is facing 14 counts of first-degree unlawful sexual intercourse and 14 counts of second-degree unlawful sexual contact. He faces a mandatory 15-year sentence on each of the unlawful sexual intercourse charges.

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