KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- A Pownal man is facing rape allegations after a girl’s guardian read Facebook conversations as well as text messages on her cell phone implicating the man and reported them to police.
Mason Eriksen, 20, pleaded not guilty Monday in Vermont Superior Court to aggravated repeated sexual assault. He was released on conditions he not contact the alleged victim. A bail hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Detective Anthony Silvestro, on Aug. 22 he learned of a report made by a 17-year-old girl’s guardian saying she read a questionable text message sent to the girl from Eriksen, which prompted her to ask the girl about it. The girl said Mason forced himself on her after prom in May.
Police were provided with text messages, the girl’s journal, and printouts from Facebook. Silvestro said the Facebook conversations show Eriksen saying he felt like a rapist and felt bad about what happened. In text messages, sent in August, he appears more upset.
The girl was living in another state when Silvestro interviewed her with the help of another detective. The girl told police she had been dating Eriksen and he was her prom date, but they had broken up two weeks prior to the prom. She said Eriksen went to her house after the prom and was going to sleep on the couch, but her father said the bed was big enough for two. She did not want Eriksen sleeping with her, but let him to keep him from being upset. She said he touched her on the bed, but she told him to stop.
The next day, the girl went to where Eriksen lives in Pownal to play video games. She said Eriksen took her clothes off and forced himself on her despite her telling him to stop repeatedly. Later in the interview she said he forced himself on her twice. She did not leave, she said, because she did not know anyone in Pownal. She told her father this, but he did not believe her. She did not speak to Eriksen for a few weeks after, and said she had not wished to report the incident but her mother was angry at her.
Eriksen spoke to Silvestro on Oct. 1 and said he had sex with the girl in Pownal during May, after prom. He said he got carried away and did not hear her say "no."
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.