Accuser takes stand in Amherst rape trial 

  • Dominic Ballard, left at table, sits next to his attorney William Korman at Ballard’s rape trial in Hampshire Superior Court on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/BERA DUNAU

Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

NORTHAMPTON — Opening statements in the trial of a Marblehead man accused of raping a 19-year-old University of Massachusetts Amherst student began Tuesday, with his accuser taking the stand.

Dominic Ballard, 25, is charged with two counts of rape in connection with two incidents in October 2017. Ballard was a senior at UMass at the time and his accuser, now 21, was a sophomore.

In her opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Sandra Staub said that the pair met on the dating app Tinder and that their first sexual encounter was consensual. Staub then told the jury that Ballard had sex with the student against her will on two different occasions in Amherst.

In the first incident, which occurred in the accuser’s room on campus, Ballard allegedly disregarded his accuser asking that they not have sex because she was menstruating. In the second alleged incident, one day later in Ballard’s off-campus room, Ballard allegedly ignored his accuser’s protests and had sex with her as she cried and tried to get out from under him, Staub told the jury.

“She said ‘no’ again and again,” said Staub, referring to the second incident.

Defense attorney William Korman disputed the prosecution’s characterization of what happened.

“If it was that simple, we wouldn’t be here,” Korman said.

Korman said he anticipated that the accuser’s testimony would  make “no sense.” He also said Ballard would testify that the accuser “was a willing participant and then some” on all three occasions that she had sex with him.

“The evidence will show that they consensually had sex,” he said.

The accuser testified Tuesday, crying at times on the stand.

“I was just squirming and trying to get out from under him,” she said, describing the second alleged incident. “I kept saying, ‘Seriously, stop.’”

She also read texts in court where she described the incidents.

“He legit rapes me,” wrote the accuser, in a portion of one of the texts.

A screenshot from a text allegedly sent by Ballard also was shown in court and read, “ik i forced it im sorry but gonna delete me on everything?”

In cross-examining the accuser, Korman questioned why she saw Ballard after the first alleged rape. He also questioned the accuser about when she determined the first incident was not a “misunderstanding,” and how she had described it in the past.

Additionally, Korman asked why she trusted Ballard would drive her home after the second alleged rape.

“I don’t know,” said the accuser, who left the courtroom crying. The trial continues Wednesday.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.