Man found guilty of sex crimes

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PARIS — A 53-year-old Rumford man was found guilty Monday of sexually assaulting a young girl a decade ago.

A jury of six men and six women found Bernard Hopkins of 4 Byron St. guilty of two counts of gross sexual assault and not guilty of one count of unlawful sexual contact. During the trial, one count of gross sexual assault and two counts of unlawful sexual contact were dismissed.

Hopkins was indicted on the charges in February 2008. The indictment charged that the crimes had occurred over the course of several months in 2000.

The girl, who was 4 years old at the time, testified that Hopkins told her to perform oral sex on him on two occasions and touched her genitals at another point. The girl’s mother also took the stand and said her daughter initially denied being touched inappropriately, but later changed her story. The girl’s mother said she asked her daughter about several people she had spent time with, and the daughter identified Hopkins.

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Hopkins’ attorney, George Hess, called Hopkins’ girlfriend, Sherri Allen, to the stand as his sole witness.

In his closing argument, Assistant District Attorney Joe O’Connor said the case had been delayed because it was decided at the time that the girl was too young to take the stand. He suggested that Allen’s testimony was explicitly trying to help Hopkins and that there was no reason for the girl to testify falsely against Hopkins.

“The emotion that you saw, is there any way to believe that emotion wasn’t genuine?” O’Connor asked.

Hess said Hopkins was the only name the girl’s mother had suggested to her as a possible suspect, and that they had had further discussions on him between 2000 and 2007, when the Rumford Police Department took another look at the case. Hess also said there were inconsistencies between the girl’s testimony and Allen’s.

“She recalls something,” Hess said. “But with whom and where and why has not been explained clearly here today.”

The jury returned the verdict after about two hours and 15 minutes of deliberation.

Justice Robert Clifford allowed Hopkins to remain free on his current bail. He will be sentenced in May.

mlangeveld@sunjournal.com

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