ALFRED – A man accused of raping a 14-year-old girl in 2008 as she took a shortcut to school changed his plea to guilty as the second day of his trial in York County Superior Court was about to begin Wednesday morning.
Dane Bosley, 25, pleaded guilty to gross sexual assault and agreed to a recommended sentence that will put him in prison for at least 14 years. In exchange for the guilty plea, the state dropped additional charges of kidnapping, criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and assault.
Bosley’s plea reversal came after his victim, now 19, testified about the attack. In testimony Tuesday that had to be interrupted when she became emotionally overwhelmed, the woman described how she was attacked, threatened with a knife and sexually assaulted mutiple times.
“This was a little girl on her way to school that morning,” said Assistant District Attorney Thaddeus West. “She was doing everything right, exactly what she should be doing, when she was attacked.”
West said later Wednesday morning, “As to Mr. Bosley’s reasons (for changing his plea), it may be it is self-preservationist. It could be he decided he should finally take responsibilty for this.”
The state and defense agreed to a sentence recommendation of 25 years in prison, with all but 14 years suspended. Bosley also would be on probation for four years after his release. Since he already is under federal supervision stemming from a bank robbery conviction, that supervision would resume once he is released from state prison, West said.
Sentencing has been continued until July 11 at 2:30 p.m., when the victim will have a chance to give a statement on the crime’s impact on her.
Bosley’s attorney, Amy Fairfield, was just starting her cross-examination of the victim Tuesday afternoon when the trial recessed until Wednesday morning. As a result of his change of plea, the victim won’t have to submit to what could have been an emotionally trying cross-examination.
“She likely would have weathered that well, but nevertheless, I don’t think anybody ever wants to be cross-examined,” West said.
The victim’s sister testified Tuesday that the two girls were walking together to school that morning when they argued and the victim’s sister walked on ahead. The sister then recounted how she saw her sister arrive at school disheveled and appraently injured, with blood on her pants, West said.
The victim was taken to the school guidance counselor, who also testified Tuesday about the victim’s emotional state and appearance, West said.
“It was an effort by the state to paint a more full picture of how brutal this was,” he said.
Maine Superior Court Justice Paul Fritzsche, the presiding judge, questioned Bosley to make sure he understood what he was doing by pleading guilty and that he was doing so voluntarily.
It’s still not clear why Bosley was at that location that morning, what motivated him to attack the girl or whether the attack was premeditated.
“I don’t know what a twenty-something is doing in the woods in Sanford at 6:30 in the morning,” West said.
At the outset of the trial, Bosley claimed that the sex was consensual and the victim was fabricating the story about the attack and there were inconsistencies in her story that should lead to reasonable doubt. Fairfield, his attorney, did not return a telephone message seeking comment Wednesday.
The state on Tuesday called Sanford police detectives to the stand, one of whom described walking with the victim along the shortcut after the attack and finding articles of her clothing, including socks and a shoe that appeared to be wedged under a piece of wood.
According to police, the girl was walking on a wooded path behind the Sanford Armory at 7 a.m. Oct. 8, 2008 when she was accosted by Bosley at knifepoint and taken to a secluded area, where she was sexually assaulted.
The girl was released and reported the assault to school officials, who notified police. Officers collected evidence and used police dogs to search the area but couldn’t find the suspect.
Forensic analysts with the Maine State police crime lab developed DNA profiles from biological evidence collected at the scene and entered it into a state database.
Bosley was arrested March 24, 2010, for robbing Maine Bank and Trust in Sanford on Feb. 25, 2010. Bosley, then 22, pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the robbery and was sentenced to 32 months in prison.
As a result of the conviction, authorities collected a tissue sample and developed a DNA profile from it that matched the evidence collected after the rape, Sanford police said in 2011.
Once he was freed from federal prison, he was taken into state custody pending this week’s trial.
The case against Bosley required that the state prove he forced the girl to have sex. Under Maine law, statutory rape, in which a person cannot give consent because they are too young, only applies when the victim is younger than 14.