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Dane Martin, 24, of Barton, is accused of felonious sexual assault on a woman in 2009.
BARRE — The trial of a former Vermont Ravens semi-pro football player accused of raping a woman the night before the 2009 championship game got under way Monday.
Dane R. Martin, 24, of Barton, is facing one count of felonious nonconsensual sexual assault in Washington County criminal court in Barre. If convicted, he faces a maximum of life in prison and a $25,000 fine.
According to the football team’s website, Martin was a defensive back from Lake Region High School. He played in 2007, 2008 and 2009, which was Mike Foster’s first year as head coach. Foster said Monday he had not been aware of any legal issues involving Martin and that it was the first he was hearing about the alleged rape.
According to the police affidavit, the woman went to a drinking party at another Ravens player’s house in Barre Town in October 2009.
Police said the woman told them Martin pushed her into the bathroom after everyone else at the party left for food and that he locked the door and raped her. She said she repeatedly told Martin no and to stop and that Martin bit her and strangled her during the sex act, according to police. The woman told police Martin stopped and told her he would “finish this later.” She then got into her car, went home and called the police.
Among the state’s evidence are photographs taken by police, nurses at Central Vermont Medical Center and by the woman herself of her neck and other parts of her body showing bruising and bite marks.
In her opening statement Monday, Deputy State’s Attorney Megan Campbell said that when the woman got home, she was crying so hard she could barely speak.
“She was still sobbing so uncontrollably that she had difficulty making a phone call to the police. (A friend) made it for her,” Campbell said.
Police said they took the woman back to Barre Town to identify the house. She also picked Martin out of a photo lineup the following day.
Police said that when they talked to Martin, he admitted biting and pulling her hair, but called it normal sex and said it was consensual.
In her opening statement, Martin’s attorney, Maggie Vincent, said that on the night of the party, Martin was living a dream. He was attending Lyndon State College, playing for a semi-pro football team, and had a pretty girl who wanted to have sex with him, she said.
Vincent said people at the party had seen Martin and the woman kissing and playing beer pong together and that at one point she was said to be sitting on Martin’s lap. Vincent said the woman had told Martin that she was interested in “no strings sex.” She said after the woman left and called the police alleging rape, the dream turned into a nightmare.
The Barre Town police officer who investigated the case, Jason Gould, testified that he had seen the bruising on the woman’s neck that he believed was from strangulation and talked about how upset the woman was when he first met her.
Vincent pressed Gould on why he did not record in his notes of his interview with the woman that she had told Martin to stop or said no. Gould said he did not put everything down in his notes but that they were a tool to help him remember facts about the case. Deputy State’s Attorney Jason Hart asked Gould if he would have forgotten that this case was about an alleged rape. Gould said he would not have forgotten that.
Martin was convicted of negligent operation in 2010.
The trial is to resume at 9 a.m. today, with the accuser expected to testify.
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