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Journal Tribune
Updated November 8, 2019
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State rests its case in former Maine prison guard’s sex assault trial

ALFRED – The defense attorney for a former corrections officer who is on trial for sexual assault of a female inmate continued to criticize his accuser Wednesday morning.

Joshua Dall-Leighton, 34, faces five counts of gross sexual assault. He had also been charged with one count of unlawful sexual contact, but that charge was dismissed Wednesday morning for a lack of evidence.

The indictment states that Dall-Leighton had supervisory or disciplinary authority over the woman because she was in custody at the time, which would make any sexual contact illegal under state law. All of the charges are felonies, and he has pleaded not guilty.

Neal Weinstein, the defense attorney, tried to paint the woman as untruthful and opportunistic. He read explicit test messages she sent to Dall-Leighton while she was at home on furlough, including a request for a sexual photograph. But she testified that she asked for the picture because he requested one from her, and she was trying to delay or avoid sending it.His trial began Monday in York County Superior Court. The alleged victim spent hours on the witness stand Tuesday, and the cross examination continued Wednesday morning. She described five instances of oral sex or sexual intercourse in a prison transport van between December 2015 and February 2015.

“What were you going to do with that picture?” Weinstein asked.

“I don’t know,” she said. “Probably nothing.”

“You weren’t going to use it in the future to say, if you don’t give me more smoking or alcohol or do something else that I’m going to post this to tell people that you did this?”

“No, I never said that,” she answered.

Assistant District Attorney Lauren Daley later asked the woman why she sent the explicit messages if she did not want to do so.

“I didn’t want these things to happen, but it was still ongoing, and I continued to text as often as he did,” she said. “I continued to play along.”

The woman’s testimony was frequently interrupted on both days by objections from the attorneys and private conferences with the judge.

When she stepped down from the witness stand Wednesday morning, the state rested its case. The defense began its case after the lunch recess.

The first witness for the defense was also a corrections officer at the facility where Dall-Leighton worked. The alleged victim testified that she told this officer about the sexual encounters with Dall-Leighton, but Weinstein has said the officer denied that.

It is not clear whether Dall-Leighton or any other witnesses will testify.

Twelve jurors and two alternates have been present for the testimony so far. Four are women; 10 are men.

Dall-Leighton previously worked at the Southern Maine Reentry Center in Alfred, which has since moved to Windham. The facility allows women who are near the end of their sentences to go to work, school and home on furlough.

The woman was convicted in January 2012 in Rockland of elevated aggravated assault, robbery and burglary. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison with all but six years suspended. She spent part of that sentence at the re-entry center, where she met Dall-Leighton. Now 34, she was released in 2016 and is on probation. The Portland Press Herald does not identify the victims of alleged sex crimes without their consent.

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