Two women testified Friday at Anthony Sanborn Jr.’s conviction review hearing that they were sexually assaulted by a friend of Sanborn’s but police did not pursue charges against the man because they needed him to testify against Sanborn at his 1992 murder trial.

One of the women testified that Portland police detectives investigating the 1989 slaying of Jessica L. Briggs had what appeared to be photographs showing Gerard Rossi assaulting her at the time. Crystal Call, who was then known as Crystal Breen, said Friday that Detectives James Daniels and Daniel Young interviewed her but were more interested in talking about Sanborn.

Rossi was a key witness at Sanborn’s murder trial, testifying that Sanborn confessed to the grisly killing, in increasing detail, on three occasions.

Call said she was 14 or 15 when she was photographed in an Augusta motel room with Rossi partially nude and lying face-down between her legs, among other sexual poses. She said that she told police at the time that she did not consent to the sexual contact or have any recollection of it.

A second woman, Gloria Brosseau, who was 15 at the time and known as Gloria Staples, testified Friday that Rossi raped her in an Augusta hotel room some time after Briggs’ slaying.

Brosseau also testified that she was there the night the Polaroid photographs of Call were taken, and that she took them at Rossi’s instruction. Both women said separately that they were terrified of Rossi, who they said preyed on young girls who hung around Sanborn.


Brosseau was the first to testify Friday, and said Rossi forced himself on her in an Augusta hotel room.

“He said he was going to have his way with me,” Brosseau said. “He had a gun in the room and he did have his way with me.”

Sanborn, who was arrested in 1990 and charged with Briggs’ murder, was friends and roommates with Rossi, a Vietnam veteran who was in his 40s and was an intimidating figure to the teenage girls, Brosseau said.

Her testimony was in response to questions from Sanborn’s attorney, Amy Fairfield, who has alleged in court filings that Rossi testified against Sanborn at the behest of the police, and that officers made a silent deal with Rossi not to pursue the rape allegations against him in exchange for his testimony.

The state has denied those allegations, and Daniels, testifying previously, said he never made any deal and did not have the power to do so. Brosseau said she reported the rapes to Portland police, but they would not press charges because they needed Rossi to testify against Sanborn.

During a tense cross-examination, in which Brosseau appeared hostile to Assistant Attorney General Meg Elam, it was revealed that Daniels wrote a police report about the rape allegation.


“He didn’t ignore you, he took a report,” Elam said, showing Brosseau the document.

“And buried it,” Brosseau quickly replied.

“Could you just answer the questions I ask you?” said Elam, who tried to pick away at Brosseau’s credibility. ” If Ms. Fairfield wants to ask you more questions she can.”

Daniels previously said on the witness stand that he referred Brosseau to the Augusta police because the alleged crime did not occur within his jurisdiction.

It was unclear whether Brosseau ever made a complaint to Augusta police, or if police ever followed up on her allegations. She said her mother, who survived polio, was partially paralyzed and could not drive.

Call was second to testify and said two detectives came to her home sometime after Briggs was killed and wanted to bring her to the station. Although Call’s mother asked if she should come, Call said the detectives said that was not necessary.


Once at the station, a detective produced four or five pornographic photos of Rossi and a young girl, “and the female was me,” Call said.

She had never seen the photos before, and was in shock, she said. Call said she told police she did not consent to what the pictures showed.

“It’s the most degrading feeling,” Call said. “I was so baffled and surprised because I didn’t expect to see anything of that sort and I did not expect that female to – I did not expect to see photos of what I saw.”

She told her mother that she felt a crime had been committed, but Call did not remember whether she said that to the police.

Brosseau’s testimony contradicted a claim the state previously made in the post-conviction hearings, that Sanborn took the pictures. Brosseau said Sanborn was present, but not involved in the alleged sexual assault.

Daniels, who testified he was aware of the photos, said in previous testimony that the pictures did not clearly show penile-vaginal penetration, which was the legal standard to charge someone with rape in 1989. Both Daniels and Young are now retired.


The state will have the opportunity to cross-examine Call on Monday.

A third witness also testified Friday. David Schwarz was 17 and had fled from the Maine Youth Center at the time Briggs was murdered.

Schwarz said he was sleeping on a bench near the Maine State Pier, that he heard a couple of loud thuds followed by a splash and saw someone leave the area, but he didn’t get a clear look at the person.

Schwarz testified that he was picked up for breaking into cars shortly after Briggs’ body was found, and that police at first accused him of killing Briggs.

“Detective Young, he actually slapped me upside the head and said, ‘You killed her, you (expletive) punk,’ ” Schwarz testified. The detectives played good-cop bad-cop for a few hours. His guardian, the Department of Human Services, was never notified, he said.

Schwarz said he was immediately asked about Sanborn. During his testimony, Schwarz said he never saw Sanborn on the pier.


Schwarz’s testimony was briefly interrupted because someone had reported to the court that he smelled of alcohol.

Justice Joyce Wheeler asked Schwarz whether he had anything to drink Friday.

He denied it, and said he had drinks Thursday night, and the testimony continued.

The state declined to cross examine him.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MattByrnePPH

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