Jury Hears Testimony in Lawyer’s Child Porn Trial
Manchester attorney Lisa Biron stands to face charges of possessing child pornography in Manchester District Court; Friday, October 26, 2012. (TRICIA NADOLNY / Monitor staff)
Lisa Biron allegedly took a 14-year-old girl to Canada so the teen could lose her virginity with a man she met online. Once there, Biron filmed the encounter, the man testified in court yesterday, saying it was one of three times she did so during a weekend of drinking, drug use and sex.
Those videos — as well as another Biron is accused of filming while the girl had intercourse with a different man in Manchester — were played yesterday for the jurors and judge only.
But the audio filled the courtroom.
“It takes practice baby,” a woman’s voice, allegedly Biron’s, could be heard saying. “It’s not so easy.”
The 43-year-old lawyer from Manchester is on trial this week, facing a string of federal pornography and child exploitation charges filed against her in November. Two men testified yesterday they met Biron online and she encouraged them to have sex with the girl while she filmed it.
And while the minor appeared willing, Biron was in a place to protect the girl, prosecutors said yesterday.
Instead, they’ve alleged, she became her pornographer. And once, Biron herself became the assailant, filming herself having oral sex with the girl.
The alleged victim’s father, asked to listen to that tape and identify the two voices yesterday, began to weep as it played.
“That’s Lisa,” he said.
A few moments later, he said the name of his daughter.
Trip to Canada
Kevin Watson, the 20-year-old man Biron and the girl allegedly met in Canada, said yesterday that the relationship started in March 2012 in an online chatroom. He met the teen there, and the two started talking about where they lived, the differences between their countries and “personal stuff,” he said.
“Did you talk about sex, Kevin?” U.S. Attorney John Kacavas asked after Watson struggled to describe those personal subjects.
“Yes, sex, and other personal stuff about each other.”
Soon after, the two started talking on Skype, then using the online chat service to masturbate in front of one another.
Watson testified that the girl, who was referred to in court by her initials and is not being named by the Monitor to protect her identity, said she was 16. When Biron found out about the relationship a few weeks later, she told Watson the girl was only 13, he said.
Initially, Biron was upset about the relationship but she didn’t remain mad for long, Watson testified.
“She began to like what she’d seen. And like my looks. And she continued to want me to take off my clothes and do more and masturbate with her,” he said, adding that Biron, too, engaged in the online sex.
“So she wasn’t angry with you anymore?” Kacavas asked as the man agreed.
The three arranged to meet in May, a few weeks after the girl’s 14th birthday, Watson said. The two planned to fly to Buffalo, then rent a car and drive across the border, he said.
Watson said Biron and the girl came to pick him up on a Friday night, then drove him to the Peninsula Inn in Niagara Falls, about 20 minutes from his home. After a quick trip to buy orange juice, cigarettes, Vodka and beer, the three began drinking and smoking marijuana Watson had brought, he said.
In a video shown in court yesterday, Biron allegedly recorded a tour of their hotel room.
“The drinks. The weed. The hot tub,” a woman, her words slurred, could be heard saying.
In the next video shown to jurors, Watson and the girl were having sex, she for her first time, he testified. In the background, a rap song with a heavy beat — the girl’s favorite song, Watson testified — can be heard.
Over two days in the hotel room, Watson had sex several times with both the girl and Biron, he said in court. He testified that after they left Canada, the three continued a relationship on Skype but never met in person again.
But Watson’s story doesn’t fully match what he told the police in Ontario when they arrested him in November for allegedly having sex with the girl, Jim Moir, Biron’s lawyer, said yesterday.
Watson acknowledged that when being questioned he initially lied, telling them not only that Biron had brought the marijuana but that she had also brought cocaine and ecstasy.
Moir also asked the man about whether Biron brought the girl to Canada with the specific intention of filming pornography — as is alleged in one of the charges against her.
Watson said Biron told him that was her plan. But Moir said Watson never told that to the Ontario police officer during a two hour interview. And he asked Watson whether anywhere in the thousands of text messages he and Biron exchanged leading up to the trip she talked about filming pornography.
Watson, who testified yesterday that he is not being prosecuted in Ontario in exchange for his cooperation in this case, said she had. Moir seemed surprised.
“I’m sure the government will pull it out and show it to us,” Moir said.
Prosecutors did not produce such evidence in the trial’s first day.
An Online Ad
In June 2012, the month after the alleged trip to Canada, Biron put a personal ad online, according to a man who says he responded to the listing.
Brandon Ore, 18, said the ad was for two women, ages 18 and 33, who were “looking to party.” Ore, who lives in Lebanon but is from Merrimack, said he responded by email.
When he went to Biron’s home a few days later, the two had sex and she told him to come back the next time with a friend, Ore testified. Over the next few weeks he brought friends to Biron’s home five or six times, he said.
When he did, the friend would had sex with Biron and Ore would have sex with the girl, who he thought was 18 and who he soon began to consider his girlfriend, he testified.
The prosecutor asked what that meant.
“We stayed monogamous,” Ore said. “And we went on a date once.”
Moir asked if the girl seemed willing to have intercourse with him. Ore said she had.
“During that time you never forced her to have sex right? And she always wanted to have sex with you?” Moir asked as Ore agreed.
Ore said Biron encouraged their sexual relationship, telling him that the teen wanted him to be more aggressive and not leave her to always initiate intercourse. Once, Biron allegedly initiated by asking the two to have sex in front of her in her home’s living room.
Ore and the girl agreed, he said yesterday, testifying that they didn’t know Biron planned to film it.
As the video Ore said was taken that day was played in court, he could be heard asking Biron if she was filming. Then, a girl’s voice asks the same question.
“No,” a woman says.
“Well, maybe,” she continues.
On the girl’s left hand, the prosecutor said yesterday, was a purity ring, a sign she was committed to staying a virgin until marriage.
Biron, Ore testified, had bought her the ring as a present.
Parties Several Nights
After a few weeks, though, Ore said he became suspicious about the girl’s age and confronted her and Biron.
They admitted that she was 14, he said. But Ore — who testified he’s been promised charges won’t be filed against him in exchange for his cooperation in the case — said he continued to have sex with the girl knowing she was a minor. Ore said he went to parties at Biron’s house several nights a week, and that the home was often filled with people and drugs.
Another man, 25-year-old Robert Hardy of Merrimack, also testified about those parties yesterday. Hardy said he never had sex with the girl, only Biron, and told the jury that he never saw women at the parties other than Biron and the teenager.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Helen Fitzgibbon asked him if he knew why there weren’t other women around. Hardy said that he had heard Biron say if anyone was going to have sex, “it was going to be her.”
As the three men spoke yesterday, Biron, in a black blazer and pink shirt, looked forward, at times turning her head to the jury or the witness stand. When the pornography allegedly filmed in Canada was played, she rested her head in her hands.
Ore went to the Manchester police in late September, a few months after he allegedly met Biron and the girl. He testified yesterday that he filed a report and told an officer that he had seen one of the videos filmed in Canada on Biron’s computer.
He said that when Biron found out, she drove him back to the police department and told him to withdraw the report. Instead, Ore testified, he told an officer that Biron had asked him to lie.
A search warrant was executed at Biron’s home in early October and shortly after she was charged with possession of child pornography. The investigation was passed off to the FBI, leading to the federal charges filed against her in November.
Biron has been incarcerated since then. Yesterday prosecutors played tapes of several phone calls recorded in December. And while it was unclear who she was talking to, Biron’s lawyer agreed that it was her voice.
“We dropped the ball for the last few months out of our whole f----ing life,” she said. “I mean give me a break.”
In another, she says, “we weren’t the best behaved people.”
“I take responsibility for that,” she continues. “I’m sorry.”
In another, Biron’s seems aggravated.
“I didn’t meet that f---ing guy,” she says. “She did.”
One of the videos
While the alleged victim is included on a list of potential witnesses for the prosecution, it didn’t appear yesterday that she would take the stand when the trial resumed today at 9 a.m. Her father, though, did testify yesterday, speaking only briefly as prosecutors asked him to help with a specific task of identifying the voices on one of the child pornography videos Biron is accused of filming.
The video depicts Biron engaging in oral sex with the girl, according to prosecutors, who said the faces of the people on screen are not easily distinguishable.
The father, who is not being named to protect the identity of the girl, sat at the stand with a computer in front of him, put on a large pair of headphones and turned from the screen. As the prosecutor struggled to raise the audio so he could hear it, the father pressed his eyes closed and cried. Then, he identified the first voice as Biron’s.
When he heard his daughter’s voice, he pulled the headphones off.
“I don’t want to listen anymore,” he said, burying his face in his hands.
At that, Judge Paul Barbadoro asked the father and the jury leave the courtroom. Once the door had closed, he turned to the prosecutors.
“What are you doing?” he asked, leaning back in his chair.
Fitzgibbon explained that she needed him to identify the voices.
“There’s got to be some way to do this that doesn’t include the drama and the traumatization of the father,” the judge said.
For the first time in the trial, Biron appeared to respond to what was going on in the courtroom as she nodded her head. Biron’s lawyer then agreed that the father had identified what he believed to be Biron’s and his daughter’s voice.
The father was brought back in briefly for other questioning, then left as the jurors watched the tape.
But after a few minutes Barbadoro again stopped the recording. After attorneys for both sides met briefly at the bench, the prosecutors agreed to fast forward to the last 30 seconds of the tape.
As the last of the audio filled the courtroom, Biron pressed her hands to her ears and cried.