Accuser said she trusted no one


CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – The woman who accused a corrections officer of sexually assaulting her while she was a halfway house inmate says she didn’t report the guard because she had no friends and trusted no one.

The 23-year-old woman was cross-examined Friday by defense lawyer Mark Sisti, who asked why she said nothing to other guards, counselors, halfway house administrators, inmates, her family or the police.

“I had nobody to call, I didn’t have any friends. I didn’t have anybody like that to call,” she said. “There are levels of trust. I didn’t trust anybody to tell them anything like that.”

She said nothing during unmonitored telephone calls to her grandmother because “my grandmother wouldn’t be able to handle something like that.”

It was the second day of testimony for the woman, who told prosecutors Thursday that Tower, 62, threatened to write her up for escaping if she ran away from him. She also testified he threatened to dock privileges or early parole if she reported him. The woman, who was 19 when she went to prison on drug and robbery charges, described three separate assaults.

Tower is on trial in Merrimack County Superior Court on 10 counts of raping and assaulting the woman in 2004 and 2005. He is charged with similar assaults against 12 other women, but will face them at separate trials.

Tower was the highest-ranking officer assigned full-time to Shea Farm halfway house, where he worked at night and once was voted officer of the year. He ruled on low-level disciplinary reports, bedroom assignments, inmate visit requests and had authority over other officers.

Through a superior, Tower could have women sent back to the Goffstown prison by making a negative report of inmate conduct. Community Corrections Director Joanne Fortier, overseer of the state’s halfway houses, testified the decision could be made over the phone and a transfer might happen within minutes if a superior decided the information was credible.

“It could be immediate,” she said.

On the overnight shift, Tower also was responsible for doing inmate head counts during the night. The woman’s former roommate testified that one night, Tower entered their bedroom about 10 times, twice the usual number. The roommate, Amada Sanchez, said she was pretending to sleep while she kept watch of Tower. During some of those checks, she said Tower shined his flashlight on the accuser’s buttocks and crotch.

Sanchez said when she woke in the morning, Tower was there in the bedroom telling the woman he had waited all night for her to go downstairs.

“As far as he was concerned she owed him one,” the roommate recalled.

The accuser said Tower assaulted her in his office and when he took her out to run errands. She said he parked his van on an isolated dirt road near the halfway house and made her perform oral sex.

The trial continues Monday.