AUGUSTA — A former Winthrop girl testified in court Tuesday that a Randolph man sexually assaulted her multiple times at a motel, including when she was as young as 10.

The lawyer for defendant Nathaniel R. Dillon, 31, meanwhile, said the girl’s accusations are untrue and only came to light after her mother, who had a relationship with Dillon for about a decade, became angry and jealous after he left her for another woman.

The dueling testimony came during the first day of a jury trial in which Dillon faces four counts of gross sexual assault. Dillon is accused of sexually assaulting the girl four times between August 2020 and April 2021 at the Winthrop motel where she, Dillon, her mother and her siblings lived.

The now 13-year-old girl took the witness stand Tuesday, often struggling to put words to what Dillon allegedly did to her when her mother was working, away from the motel. The Kennebec Journal is not naming the alleged victim or her mother because the newspaper’s policy is not to identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

Prosecutor Timothy Snyder, an assistant district attorney, alleged in his opening statements that Dillon sexually assaulted the girl at the Cobbossee Motel multiple times, each time when her mother was at work in Manchester. He said the assaults were horrific to the girl, who testified that Dillon wouldn’t stop even after she asked him to.

“Later today (the victim) will share with you the horror she experienced,” Snyder said. “She will tell you details a child should never know. You will have sufficient evidence that, on four separate occasions, the defendant did commit sexual assault, … and we will ask you to find the defendant guilty on all four counts.”

Dillon’s attorney, Jennifer Cohen, said in her opening statements that the alleged assaults never happened and were made up by the girl’s mother who was angry and jealous and wanted revenge. She also said the girl’s accounts of the alleged crimes are inconsistent and defy logic.

“He did not assault (the victim); it never happened,” Cohen told the jury, which consisted of six women and eight men. “These were fabricated by (the victim’s mother) after he ended their relationship. She was angry (at him) for ending their 10-year relationship and jealous because he was with someone else and reacted by making accusations. Also, the circumstances of the accusations itself are going to show these are false accusations and Mr. Dillon is not guilty.”

After the girl paused extensively several times when asked questions about what Dillon allegedly did to her, prosecutors sought to play a video and audio recording of an interview of the girl by a child advocate in Texas. Attorneys for both sides argued, before the video was played for jurors, about whether the recording of the girl’s interview with the child advocate could be played in court, to supplement her strained testimony.

Superior Court Justice Deborah Cashman ruled in favor of allowing the recording to be played, a ruling that could be a factor in other cases in Maine in which videos of child advocate interviews of child victims are recorded.

Frayla Tarpinian, deputy district attorney, argued that case law allows such video recordings to be played when a witness is unable to testify about the facts of a case and provide testimony from a victim much closer to the time of the incident, when their memory of the incident would be better. She noted the girl, during her brief stint on the witness stand, clearly struggled to answer questions and didn’t want to talk about what happened in a courtroom full of strangers.

The girl paused at length when asked what had happened, looking down and fidgeting nervously.

She told the child advocate, in the video recording, Dillon assaulted her in their motel room’s bathroom.

Dillon sat attentively throughout Tuesday’s testimony. His lawyer, Cohen, argued the video shouldn’t be shown to jurors and that previous case law allowed such videos to be played only when a defendant didn’t remember an incident. She said the girl didn’t seem to have that problem and had been able to say, in general terms, what allegedly happened to her, and when and where.

The girl’s mother, who was in tears as she took the witness stand, testified that she trusted Dillon, who was not working at the time, to watch her kids while she was at work in Manchester.

“I trusted him with my babies. I trusted him, because I loved him,” she said, struggling to speak through tears and coughs. “I didn’t know anything was going to happen.”

She said sometimes it seemed like her daughter wanted to tell her something but, when she tried to do so, Dillon would intervene, and distract the girl.

She said her relationship with Dillon ended and she returned to Texas, where she was from.

While living with her family in Texas in 2021, she said, she was approached by her daughter while other family members were out of the room who told her Dillon had touched her, and she called police.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.