AUBURN – A Sabattus man convicted last month of brutally raping a Bates College freshman in a campus bathroom is going to trial again.

Christian Averill, 21, is scheduled to be tried next month in Oxford County Superior Court on a charge that he raped a local woman in June 2001, nearly a year before the rape at Bates.

The alleged victim claims that Averill approached her as she was walking along Canal Street in Lewiston at about 11 p.m. on June 15, 2001. She says that he put her in a headlock, then raped her in the back of his pickup truck.

Averill claims that he picked up the 24-year-old woman while she was hitchhiking. He has admitted to having sex with her but he claims it was consensual.

Investigators questioned Averill about the incident in June 2001 after the woman’s boyfriend reported it to police. But he wasn’t charged with the rape until he was arrested in April 2002 for the assault at Bates.

It took a jury less than 20 minutes last month to convict Averill of the Bates rape. The victim in that case testified that she walked out of a bathroom stall in Pettengill Hall to find a strange man standing in front of her. Before she could scream, he put her in a headlock, covered her mouth and pushed her into a nearby stall.

The alleged victim in the earlier incident has also described a brutal attack.

She claims that Averill grabbed her around the neck as she was walking to a friend’s house, then dragged her across the street. She says he picked her up off the ground and threw her into his truck, where he forced her to perform oral sex and intercourse.

Shocked and scared, she says that she allowed Averill to drive her home. Then she immediately told her boyfriend what happened, and he called police.

State prosecutors have said that they were ready to go forward with the case in June 2001 but they were unable to reach the victim. That changed after the rape at Bates, Assistant District Attorney Deborah Potter Cashman said.

“The victim has been working with us ever since then,” Cashman said.

The venue for the second trial, which is scheduled to begin May 19, was changed from Androscoggin County Superior Court to Oxford County Superior Court because the judge assigned to the case, Justice Thomas E. Delahanty II, is scheduled to be at the South Paris courthouse at that time.

Averill will return to Androscoggin County Superior Court on May 23 to be sentenced. The length of his sentence will depend on the outcome of the second trial.

Each rape conviction carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

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