Jurors were selected and opening statements were heard Monday in the trial of a Clinton man who is accused of third-degree sexual abuse.
Prosecutor Scott Brown, from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, told the jury that the state will prove that on the night of Oct. 16, 2004, the victim, who was then 17 years old, went to an 18th birthday party of a friend, held at the home of defendant David DeSimone, whom she did not know at that time. He continued that the state alleges that after the victim became intoxicated and laid down in the bedroom of DeSimone, she awoke and was sexually assaulted by the defendant.
The victim then allegedly fled from the house and ran to Hy-Vee, where she called friends and then 911. Brown told the jurors that the prosecution will bring in witnesses from that party, as well as law enforcement, medical staff, and friends to give testimony of what happened on Oct. 16 and Oct. 17, 2004.
“And what you’ll find is there is not a lot of physical evidence of this case,” Brown said. However, he added that DeSimone was in control of the crime scene between the time of the alleged assault and when police arrived hours later.
During his opening statements, defense attorney Harold DeLange spoke about credibility, corroboration and confidence. He pointed out that the victim was intoxicated the night in question and previously stated that she blacked out. He also claimed that different versions of her story were told. DeLange also said in his opening statement that the state will not be able to provide any physical evidence and all scientific tests came up negative.
“The bottom line is this is a he said-she said case,” DeLange said. He told the jurors that he plans to let the case speak for itself, or not speak for itself and will ask for a verdict of not guilty.
“The truth in this case is that (the victim) was sexually assaulted by David DeSimone. Justice in this case is a guilty verdict,” Brown said.
DeSimone was previously convicted of the alleged crime in 2005. However, the conviction was thrown out this fall by the Iowa Supreme Court after the court ruled that the prosecutor on the case failed to disclose evidence that would have discredited part of a witness’ testimony.
The court reconvened at 9 a.m. this morning. Clinton County District Court Judge Mark Cleve told the jurors the trial could last up to four days.