First week of Gilbert '16 trial brings student, expert witnesses
The trial against Parker Gilbert ’16 began last week with the prosecution arguing that he raped a female undergraduate student vaginally, orally and anally after entering her room uninvited the morning of May 2, 2013.
Gilbert, 21, is charged with seven counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault against the female undergraduate student, 19, and one count of criminal trespass. Gilbert, who was arrested May 15, is no longer enrolled in classes at Dartmouth. He could serve up to 20 years in prison for each count of sexual assault. As a general practice, The Dartmouth does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.
Both sides agreed that Gilbert entered the complainant’s room early on May 2 and that penetrative intercourse occurred between them. A female floormate of the complainant was in bed with her during the night of the alleged attack, but she was under the influence of alcohol and anxiety medication, which she said sometimes induces memory loss. To preserve the complainant’s anonymity, The Dartmouth has not identified this witness or other floormates of the alleged victim.
Earlier that night, Gilbert and the complainant had interacted briefly at Beta Alpha Omega fraternity. The complainant went to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center the afternoon of May 2, where she was examined by a sexual assault nurse examiner. Both sides also agreed that the complainant vomited when she saw Gilbert outside Psi Upsilon fraternity the following Friday night. Gilbert later sent her an email, saying he must have acted “inappropriately” and intoxication was “no excuse.”
Throughout the week, the prosecution argued that the female undergraduate student told Gilbert to stop during the alleged assault, that her demeanor changed following the alleged attack and that she was too frightened to sleep in her own bed for the rest of spring term. The defense argued that the intercourse between Gilbert and the complainant was consensual, pointing to the fact that the alleged victim’s roommate did not hear sounds indicative of sexual violence and that the complainant went back to sleep instead of seeking help after the alleged assault.
“I never heard anyone speak to me with that much hatred in their voice,” she said. “I was terrified.”
The complainant said that though she had consumed three shots of vodka in her room and a few beers at Beta that night, she was not inebriated at the time of the alleged assault. The complainant said she could tell Gilbert was intoxicated during the alleged attack by the way he spoke to her.
During her cross-examination by defense attorney Cathy Green, of Green and Utter, the complainant said she “thankfully” does not remember every detail of the alleged assault, and that it “felt like static.” She confirmed that though she thought both she and Gilbert had shouted during the alleged attack, she does not remember the “exact decibel” of the defendant’s voice. The complainant also confirmed that Gilbert had engaged in cunnilingus during the alleged attack.
When the alleged victim discussed the morning of May 2 with a friend later that day, Green said, the complainant said she was unsure whether the alleged attack “counts as a problem” and that it was “probably [her] fault.” The alleged victim agreed that she had made those statements and said she had felt that way at the time.
In her redirect examination by assistant county prosecutor Paul Fitzgerald, the complainant said approaching a friend or undergraduate advisor immediately after the alleged assault had not occurred to her.
“That wasn’t even in my mind at the time,” she said. “I believe I described how I felt during the whole incident as static in my head. I was focusing on the corner of my bedroom. I was just scared and in pain, and nothing else even popped into my mind.”
The prosecution also called a male floormate of the complainant who had spent time with her on the night of May 1. The male student said that after going to sleep, he woke up around 3:30 a.m. to a “very heavy pounding” on his door. He opened the door to find a “visibly very angry” and intoxicated Gilbert, he said, who accused the male student of being in Gilbert’s room. Gilbert, who lived in the same residence hall, soon realized he was in the wrong room and left, the male student said.
The prosecution also questioned a female friend of the complainant who slept in the same bed during the alleged attack. The witness said neither she nor the alleged victim had been sober that night. During her cross-examination by defense attorney Robert Cary ’86, of Williams and Connolly, the witness confirmed that she does not remember hearing sexual activity in the morning of May 2.
The complainant’s former roommate testified Thursday. The alleged victim and her roommate shared a two-room double, and the witness’s inner room could be accessed by walking through the complainant’s room.
The witness said Gilbert opened the door connecting their rooms, said nothing and closed it. The complainant’s former roommate said she then heard whispering followed by “heavy breathing,” which she associated with sexual intercourse. The witness, who had not been drinking, said the only phrase she heard distinctly was the alleged victim saying, “don’t push me.” The witness is a member of The Dartmouth staff.
In a cross-examination, the witness confirmed that she did not hear crying, loud noises or expressions of pain on the morning of May 2. She confirmed that she did not remember hearing anyone fall to the floor.
On Friday, the prosecution called four of Gilbert’s former rugby teammates.
Christopher Banks ’16, a former teammate, said he had been drinking with Gilbert on May 1. Gilbert sent Banks a text message reading “I was wasted” the next day, Banks said.
Banks said he was not keeping close track of Gilbert on the night of May 1, and does not recall seeing him speak to the complainant at Beta.
In his testimony Friday, Hanover Police chief Frank Moran said he first met the complainant on the afternoon of May 13, when she reported the alleged assault to Hanover Police. Moran said that in a brief overview of the alleged attack, the complainant made one reference to yelling. In her subsequent in-depth account, the complainant did not say she yelled, he said.
During his cross-examination by Cary, Moran confirmed that the complainant said she “kept on yelling ‘stop’” during the alleged attack. He also confirmed that the complainant told him she took three shots of vodka in her room that night, that Gilbert had asked her to engage in fellatio and that she went to Dick’s House after a friend’s recommendation.
Court resumes at 9:30 a.m. Monday, when the prosecution will continue its case against Gilbert. The defense is expected present to witnesses early this week.
This article was initially published in print on Monday, March 24 with the headline "Prosecution starts case against Gilbert."
Editor's note (June 15, 2014): Gilbert was acquitted of all charges on March 27, 2014. For a full story, clickhere.