Friday, August 15, 2008

Alleged victim testifies in sex-crime trial

Girl not sure where sex act occurred

Express Staff Writer

Brian Adamson listens to opening remarks at his trial Thursday morning in Hailey. Adamson, a 20-year-old Carey man, is charged with lewd conduct with a minor child for allegedly having sex last October with a 13-year-old foster child who was living with Adamsonís parents. Photo by David N. Seelig

A 13-year-old foster child testified Thursday that she had sexual intercourse with Brian Jake Adamson last October but that she couldn't be certain where the alleged sex act occurred.

"I don't remember where it happened," said the girl, who further explained that she was intoxicated the night of Oct. 19, 2007 when the alleged act occurred.

The girl, a foster child who was living at the time at the Carey home of Adamson's parents, Craig and Betty Adamson, was the first witness to testify at Adamson's trial in Blaine County 5th District Court.

Adamson, a 20-year-old Carey man, is charged with lewd conduct with a minor child under 16, an offense punishable in Idaho by up to life in prison.

Public defender Kevin Cassidy said in opening remarks that his client will testify.

"He'll get on the stand and he'll deny vehemently that he had sex with this girl," Cassidy said. "My client has done nothing wrong."

Adamson's trial started Wednesday with jury selection. A 13-member all-male jury—12 jurors and one alternate—was sworn in and given instructions Thursday morning by Judge Barry Wood, who is presiding over the case because of a disqualification motion filed against Blaine County District Court Judge Robert J. Elgee by the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

Deputy Prosecutor Matt Fredback alleged in opening remarks that Adamson "got her drunk" and later bragged about having sex.

Fredback said the girl initially denied having sex with Adamson in interviews with the Blaine County Sheriff's Office and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare because "she was embarrassed and didn't want to get the defendant in trouble."

The girl testified that she developed a "crush" on Adamson while she was living with his parents. She had only met him a few times, she said, explaining that Adamson was living in Twin Falls and attending College of Southern Idaho.

The girl said she was with Adamson on the evening of Oct. 19 at a Carey High School football game. She testified that she and Adamson drank beer and he drove her to the Carey water tower where "we just started making out. He tried to stick his hand up my shirt and then tried to unbutton my pants," she said.

The girl testified at Adamson's preliminary hearing that she and Adamson had sex in Adamson's vehicle near the water tower, but she testified Thursday that the sex occurred at Adamson's parents' home.

She said that the next morning "he told me not to tell anybody because he could get in trouble."

The girl acknowledged that she initially denied having sex with Adamson because "I wasn't very proud of it." She said she admitted to having sex in a second interview with Sheriff's Detective Steve Harkins because "he told me that if I lied I could go to jail."

Cassidy probed for inconsistencies in the girl's accounts of what happened that night.

"Basically you don't seem to remember a lot of what happened," he said. "Is that fair to say?"

"Yeah," the girl responded.

Cassidy also probed for inconsistencies in the testimony of Bryson Ellsworth, a 23-year-old Carey man who was a friend of Adamson.

Ellsworth, who received immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony, admitted to buying alcohol for Adamson but denied giving any to the girl.

Ellsworth, who admitted to being intoxicated himself that evening, said he and Adamson drove around together after the football game.

"He told me that they'd made out, that he had started to unbutton her pants." Ellsworth said. "He told me he thought she was hot and he was into her."

Ellsworth said Adamson called him on Oct. 20 and told him that he'd had sex with the girl.

"He told me that he had taken her virginity," Ellsworth said. "I was kind of flabbergasted, but we were friends so I said, 'Right on, way to go.'"

Ellsworth said Adamson later wanted to "get our stories straight" when the sheriff's office investigation started.

"He was like, 'You're not going to turn me in are you?'"

Testimony is scheduled to continue today. The trial is expected to last four days.

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