Trial begins for Rockport man accused of sex crime against girl
Rockland — The trial for a 55-year-old man charged with sex crimes against an 11-year-old girl began in Knox County Superior Court Dec. 9, more than two years after the alleged incidents.
Arthur R. Dodge Jr., of Rockport, is charged with one count of gross sexual assault and one count of unlawful sexual contact.
The victim is now 14 and testified during the first day of the trial.
Dodge was arrested March 21 after investigators interviewed the victim, executed a search warrant at Dodge's home, and tested DNA evidence found on the victim's clothing, according to court documents.
Semen was found on the victim's underwear. Prosecutor Jeffrey Baroody said although the underwear had been washed, the evidence collected was consistent with the defendant's DNA profile.
The incidents occurred in November 2011, according to court documents.
Camden Defense attorney Christopher MacLean told jurors during opening statements the victim has altered her testimony about the events regarding the dates and what occurred during the alleged crime. He said his client is not guilty of the crimes.
"He did not abuse her in any way, shape, or form," MacLean said.
MacLean said she is prescribed medications to control ADHD and also began seeing a counselor before the allegations surfaced.
MacLean said although traces of semen were found in the victim's underwear, the results were inconclusive. He said thousands of people could be linked to the DNA found.
During her testimony, the victim told the court she was touched inappropriately by Dodge on two occasions, once in a shed on the property, and once in an upstairs bedroom. She said she told an adult about the incident when she was first touched, but that the adult didn't believe her. She then told another adult, who brought the claims to the police.
She said it was hard for her to talk about what had happened and added she was nervous.
Dodge has several convictions, including a 1989 felony conviction for unlawful sexual contact.
Before the trial began, two jurors were excused from serving on the jury panel as they had read news coverage of the case, specifically that Dodge had a previous 1989 felony conviction of unlawful sexual contact. MacLean said the defamatory nature of the story would not allow somebody to be an impartial juror of the case.
The trial will continue Dec. 10.
Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at email@example.com.
594-4401 ext. 118
Juliette primarily covers the cops and courts beat for The Courier-Gazette.