PARIS — The state dismissed several charges against a registered sex offender from Waterford on Wednesday because a teenage girl he was accused of kidnapping and assaulting declined to testify at trial.
Gregory Kenneth Turner, 47, of Waterford Road was charged in Cumberland County with three counts of gross sexual assault and one count each of kidnapping, unlawful sexual contact and aggravated furnishing of cocaine. He was charged in Oxford County with two counts of gross sexual assault and one count each of attempted gross sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact and aggravated furnishing of cocaine.
The dismissal removes both counties' cases, as well as a charge that Turner violated his conditions of release by having contact with his sister's children.
“I think that Greg is very pleased that this is finally over,” said Walter McKee, Turner's lawyer. “It has been many years in the making, and to say that this was a huge sigh of relief would be a great understatement. Greg always contended from the very start that this did not happen, and he was confident that if there was a trial he would have prevailed.”
“I think it's very unfortunate that we're unable to go forward with the case at this time,” Assistant District Attorney Richard Beauchesne said. “However, I respect the wishes of the victim and her family.”
Beauchesne said there is no statute of limitations on the charges, so they might be brought back to court if the girl decides she wants to testify in the future.
McKee said there is a legal argument that the court could take such an action if charges are dismissed before a trial, but he would object to it.
“Our view would be that once you have dismissed it under circumstances like this, you don't get a second bite at the apple,” he said.
The charges stemmed from an alleged incident in December 2007. A 13-year-old girl accused Turner of offering to take her to shop for skis and instead sexually assaulted her at a Waterford residence, a Bridgton hotel and in his vehicle. The girl also accused Turner of forcing her to snort cocaine.
According to an affidavit from Lt. Hart Daley of the Oxford County Sheriff's Office, Turner said he took the girl to a ski shop but denied sexually assaulting her.
A trial on the charges began in November, but Justice Donald Marden declared a mistrial on the same day it started. Defense lawyer Leonard Sharon, then representing Turner, said in his opening statement that he would be able to show printouts of websites authored by the girl to cast doubt on her credibility. He had asked Turner's wife to look for such sites and she told him up until the day before the trial that she would be able to authenticate them, but she said she would not be able to do so during a trial break after Beauchesne raised questions about the evidence.
Marden agreed with Sharon's argument that proceeding with the trial would be prejudicial against Turner, since Sharon had promised the jury evidence he would not be able to present. According to the trial transcript, Sharon twice argued for mistrial on other, unrelated points at sidebar conferences and was denied by Marden.
Turner was charged with kidnapping and gross sexual assault of a Paris woman in 1985, and convicted the next year of gross sexual misconduct. He was given a fully suspended three-year prison sentence. In 2005 he was required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Turner was also convicted in 2004 of possession of a firearm by a felon and of offering crack cocaine and marijuana to a 16-year-old baby sitter. In that case, he was sentenced to serve nine months of a three-year prison sentence.
Turner was arrested in August 2007 and charged with sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl, but the charge was dropped six months later due to insufficient evidence.