AUGUSTA — The alleged victim in a trial that got underway Wednesday told jurors he, as a 16-year-old, awoke to find he was being sexually assaulted by a man on two occasions about three years ago.

The lawyers for defendant Jesse W. Morang, meanwhile, countered that the now-19-year-old accuser told police he had a vivid imagination and was not sure if what he thought had happened was real.

Morang’s lawyers also said investigators for the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office had failed to collect important physical evidence from the alleged crime scene and victim and from Morang.

Morang, 40, of Chelsea is charged with two counts of gross sexual assault for allegedly engaging in a sexual act in 2019 with the then-16-year-old boy on or about Dec. 1 and again Dec. 4 in Pittston.

The now-adult victim testified at the trial Wednesday, telling jurors he was sleeping in his bedroom when Morang came in late at night and sexually assaulted him for about 10 minutes.

“I felt uncomfortable,” he said of how he felt at the time.


The Kennebec Journal’s policy is not to name alleged victims of sexual assault without their permission.

Under questioning in court, the accuser said he did not tell anyone after the first incident because he did not fully believe it had happened and was worried others would not believe him. He also said he had a very active imagination as a child.

The accuser testified that a few days after the first assault, Morang did it again. This time, however, the accuser told his sister what had happened. She then told other family members, who reported it to Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office.

The alleged victim said Wednesday on the witness stand at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta he is certain the incidents took place.

“I don’t believe at all that I imagined it,” he said. “I am certain.”

Morang’s two defense lawyers highlighted the alleged victim’s only recorded interview with officials, in which he told them he did not fully believe it the first time it happened.


Defense lawyer Jesse Archer said in his opening statement that investigators from the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office did not initially interview the alleged victim, record their interviews with others in the case, take photographs of the crime scene or go into the room where the alleged assaults took place.

Archer also said the investigators did not collect evidence or take swabs of DNA samples from the body of the alleged victim or Morang or the victim’s clothing or sheets, and did not collect other physical evidence.

Archer said Deputy Tad Nelson of the Sheriff’s Office was the first to respond to the reported incident, but did not record any of his interviews or follow other procedures he had been trained to do.

“Nelson was trained that memories cloud over time, so he’s trained to record witness interviews,” Archer said in his opening statement to the 12 women and two men on the jury. “He doesn’t record any interviews. He’s trained to take photographs. … He didn’t take any photos. He does not even ever look at the crime scene. He never went to the house, let alone this room.”

Detective John Bourque of the Sheriff’s Office testified Wednesday that an interview of the alleged victim did take place — and was recorded — by a Child Advocacy Center-trained sexual assault interviewer. Bourque also said he attempted to record his interview with Morang, but Bourque’s recording device battery malfunctioned.

Under intense questioning from defense lawyer Caleigh Milton, Bourque acknowledged it is important and general police policy to record interviews. He also said he had not collected biological evidence from the crime scene, spoken directly to the alleged victim, taken DNA evidence swabs or asked to see the victim’s or Morang’s cellphones.


Bourque said he did not take photographs or collect the clothing or bedsheets of the alleged victim. He said doing so did not seem necessary because he was not aware of the specific allegations or that there was an alleged crime scene.

Bourque wrote in an affidavit he had met with Morang the day after the alleged victim spoke with police, and that Morang denied having done anything wrong.

Prosecutor Frayla Tarpinian, a deputy district attorney, said in her opening statement the alleged victim remembers details of the incident, such as the coldness of Morang’s metal wedding ring touching his skin during the assaults.

The charges against Morang are Class B crimes, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Morang previously worked at an Augusta day care, but officials have said the charges against him are not related to his former employment there.

Milton sought to have the case declared a mistrial, alleging at its outset — before the jury was brought into the courtroom — that state prosecutors failed to share evidence with the defense. Later, Milton said the alleged victim testified falsely and she sought sanctions against state prosecutors for not pointing out the contradictory information.

Superior Court Justice William Stokes agreed state prosecutors should have been more prompt about sharing the transcript of a 911 call the defense got just before the start of the trial, but said the transcript did not appear to be key evidence and its delayed handling was not worthy of sanctions.

Stokes said the alleged victim’s testimony might have been contradictory with other evidence on the record, but that could be attributable to the difficulty many witnesses have recollecting details of incident that happened years ago. Stokes said none of the issues was “mistrial material.”

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