BENNINGTON — A Bennington man is standing trial on allegations he sexually assaulted and physically injured a teenage girl.
Joshua Boyer, 33, is charged with three felonies: repeated aggravated sexual assault on a child, first-degree aggravated domestic assault and aggravated sexual assault on a child, causing serious injury.
Authorities accuse Boyer of repeatedly sexually assaulting the girl, whom he knew, at a Bennington home between the summer of 2017 and the spring of 2018.
In one incident, Boyer allegedly choked her when she threatened to tell on him.
The defense said the girl has made up the stories.
The girl testified at the Bennington County courthouse on Wednesday — the first day of trial — saying Boyer either forced her or bribed her with alcohol, marijuana or "pills" to engage in sexual acts.
Boyer apparently told her his actions were "OK" and "normal."
Defense attorney Kate Lamson told jurors the case shows "the lengths that a troubled teenager will go to get what she wants." There is no evidence Boyer had any sexual contact with her, Lamson added.
Deputy State's Attorney Alex Burke said the prosecution has DNA evidence that tells a different story.
Boyer was arrested after the girl went to Bennington police in April of 2018, and he remains detained at the Marble Valley correctional facility in Rutland.
The girl entered the courtroom Wednesday morning escorted by about 10 members of Bikers Against Child Abuse, a group that offers protection and support to child abuse victims.
Lamson had earlier requested that the bikers not wear their "insignia" in the courtroom since their clothing could be "intimidating" and might unduly influence the jury's verdict.
Burke opposed the request, saying the bikers had a First Amendment right to wear what they wanted in the courtroom, which was open to the public.
Judge John Valente, of Vermont Superior Court, ruled that he didn't believe the bikers' attire would prejudice the jury.
The trial is scheduled to run until Friday.