Bodenweiser's Defense Makes Case - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Bodenweiser's Defense Makes Case

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GEORGETOWN, Del. - It was day 10 of trial in the case against Eric Bodenweiser, the former state senate candidate accused of molesting a young boy in the late 1980's. Just days away from jury deliberation, the defense called eight witnesses to the stand on Wednesday, trying to poke holes in the accuser's allegations. 

The defense called a detective, a school administrator, a supervisor at Bodie's Market, a childhood friend of the accuser, a school counselor, and a trio of Bodenweiser's former roommates. Each of these witnesses provided certain inconsistencies between the accuser's story and their testimony. 

The first witness called was a woman from the Adult Education Division known as the James H. Groves program, within the Polytech School District. She was questioned about a claim the accuser made that he had received a GED from the program. On the stand, she testified that the alleged victim had enrolled for the program, but he never actually received a diploma. 

Next up was Kelly Truitt, a supervisor from Bodie's Market. She was questioned by defense attorney Eric Mooney, about the accuser's claim Bodenweiser had threatened to fire the alleged victim's mother if he told anyone about the abuse. In her testimony, Truitt said the accuser's mother had only worked at the store for nine days from June 10 to June 19 in 1986. 

Mooney then called up a trio of former roommates of Bodenweiser. All three of them told the jury they had never seen the alleged victim at the home. All three of them were questioned about Bodenweiser's working habits as well. 

"He was hardly ever home," one of them said on the stand. "He worked a lot." 

One big topic of discussion Wednesday was about what the accuser has called the "tanning bed incident." The alleged victim said that he was molested in the main bedroom, when he joined Bodenweiser near a tanning bed. However, all three of the former roommates said that the tanning bed was in the living room, and not in the bedroom. They also told the jury that the tanning bed wasn't at the home until mid-1990, which would have been later than the period of alleged abuse. 

One of the former roommates recalled the tanning bed needed an outlet that was only available in the living room. In response, the state attorney shot back, suggesting that the man's friendship with Bodenweiser was getting in the way. 

"He gave you a place to stay when you needed one," he said to him.

Later he referred to Bodenweiser helping the witness to find employment at the Sheraton Hotel.

"Bodenweiser got you that job, right," he said.

A third roommate, who moved into the home in March of 1989 said that Bodenweiser was rarely even in the home.

"He worked full time plus," she said. "He worked a lot of hours."

The defense also called a former childhood acquaintance of the alleged victim, who lived in the community. He told the jury that he would spend time with the accuser, although he said he never saw him interacting with Bodenweiser. 

The last witness was a school counselor at Frankford Elementary. He said that he met with the alleged victim regularly, while he was studying at that school. 

"I thought we got along very well," he said. 

The counselor said he met with the accuser more than ten times to discuss various emotional troubles, although he said the young boy never mentioned the molestation. He said the school had strict rules about reporting sexual abuse, saying there was a policy of "when in doubt, report it." 

"We did not have that choice," he said. "It was mandatory." 
     

The counselor told the jury that he thought they had a close enough relationship that the alleged victim would have disclosed the alleged molestation. 

For much of last week, through cross-examination, Bodenweiser's attorneys questioned the accuser, arguing he had inconsistencies in his story, including contradictions from one interview to another. In particular, they referenced a May 25th interview, in which the accuser gave a differing account from the initial October, 2012 interview, in regards to what type of sex act took place on which date.

On the first day of trial, Bodenweiser's Pastor Duane Smith took the stand, telling the jury that his congregate and friend had confessed to the crime while they were talking in privacy. Bodenweiser's attorney argued that Smith had simply misunderstood Bodenweiser's confession. He said that his client was admitting to providing pornography to the young boy, but said that he was not confessing to anything more than that. 

Trial will resume Thursday morning, as the defense finishes making its case. The defense tells WBOC they expect to begin closing statements Thursday afternoon. Then it will be up to the jury to start deliberating.
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