Nurse Gives Testimony at Rape Trial
North Haverhill — The nurse who examined the Dartmouth College student who alleges she was raped by a classmate last May testified on Monday about the results of the evaluation.
Monday was the sixth day of the trial of former Dartmouth student Parker C. Gilbert, who is charged with seven felony counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault and a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge.
The prosecution alleges Gilbert entered the woman’s room in the early hours of May 2, 2013 and began assaulting her while she was asleep. The defense argues that the sexual encounter was consensual “clumsy, awkward, drunk college sex.”
Elizabeth B. Morse, a certified sexual assault nurse examiner, works for Dartmouth College health services and is employed as a per diem nurse at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Morse met with the accuser around 4:15 p.m. on May 2, about 12 hours after the alleged assault.
Morse gave a detailed account, augmented by photos, of the bruising and lacerations she found on the woman’s body.
Grafton County Attorney Lara Saffo asked Morse if the woman could tell her exactly how any of the bruises occurred, and Morse said she could not.
During cross examination, defense attorney Robert Cary asked Morse about any pain that the accuser might have mentioned when she first arrived at DHMC.
Cary showed Morse paperwork the nurse filled out during the exam, including a box to check off for pain in which Morse wrote zero.
When Cary asked if the woman complained of pain, Morse said, “Not that I recall.”
Last week during the trial, defense attorneys asserted that this represented a discrepancy in the accuser’s account because even though the woman had complained about pain to her mother and a police investigator, she had left that detail out when talking with Morse.
“In fact, she had no complaints of pain until you applied traction to the private area,” Cary said.
“That’s correct,” Morse said.
Cary also asked if the woman had any injuries to her mouth, which Morse said she did not. The woman has testified that Gilbert put his fingers in her mouth.
Cary and Saffo both questioned Morse about why she didn’t conduct blood or urine tests for blood alcohol content. Morse explained that she didn’t conduct those tests because the woman had told her she did not think the alleged assault had been facilitated by drugs or alcohol. Cary pointed out that the woman had told the nurse that she only had three beers the night of the alleged assault, when in fact she also had three vodka shots. But either way, Morse said there wouldn’t have been any alcohol left in her system in the time she could have taken a test.
The state also called a friend of the accuser’s to the stand on Monday, as well as a woman employed by the New Hampshire State Police department of safety who works in a forensic lab and examined the DNA from the exam that Morse conducted.
The trial is scheduled to resume at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Grafton Superior Court in North Haverhill.
Sarah Brubeck can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3223.