Tony Cercy Trial: Alleged Sexual Assault Victim Didn’t Want To Report Crime
THERMOPOLIS -- Despite the pleas from friends, the woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted by Casper businessman Tony Cercy last year resisted reporting the crime and a medical examination, she said Tuesday.
"I wanted to forget about it," she told the jury at the Hot Springs County Court House during the second day of the trial in which Cercy faces one count of third-degree sexual assault.
However, Cercy's lead defense attorney Pamela Mackey cited that and other statements to friends and authorities as examples of an inconsistent narrative that shows the assault never happened and that he is innocent.
Court records say the alleged victim told a Natrona County Sheriff's investigator she, her boyfriend, friends and acquaintances arrived at Alcova Lake on the evening of June 23 and spent the next day at the lake. She was drinking heavily and passed out on the rear deck of a boat at Sandy Beach.
On Saturday evening, they went to another location and about 9:45 p.m. went to a residence on Cedar Drive North owned by Cercy.
She said she went into the residence and passed out on the couch in the middle of the living room.
She woke up, looked down and saw Cercy performing oral sex. She pushed him away and asked what he was doing, and he responded he was trying to "'get some action'" from her for the last hour with his "'tongue and "d---."
Nearly all of her clothing had been removed and Cercy was naked from the waist down, according to the affidavit.
She gathered her clothes and unsuccessfully made about 40 calls and texts to friends.
The alleged victim said he threatened to kill her, according to court records.
Cercy was charged with one count each of first-degree sexual assault (rape), one count of second-degree sexual assault, and one count of third-degree sexual assault.
In February, a jury in Natrona County District Court acquitted him of the first two counts, but deadlocked on the third count. District Court Judge Daniel Forgey declared a mistrial.
In March, the woman asked and District Attorney Mike Blonigen agreed to again file the charge of third-degree sexual assault.
In June, Forgey granted the defense attorneys' request to move the trial to Hot Springs County because of the intense publicity before, during and after the first trial.
However, the defense attorneys have argued that the new trial violates Cercy's constitutional right to not be tried twice for the same crime (double jeopardy) because the acquittals in February included oral sex.
Last week, they unsuccessfully petitioned the Wyoming Supreme Court to delay the trial until the double jeopardy issue could be resolved.
The trial started Friday with jury selection, resumed Tuesday with opening statements from the prosecution and defense, and testimony from witnesses from the Wyoming Medical Center and the Natrona County Sheriff's Office.
Tuesday afternoon, the alleged victim took the stand.
"I was trying to convince myself that it didn't happen," she said, often holding back tears
She had considered going to law enforcement about what allegedly happened early morning June 25, 2017, but didn't want the backlash from multimillionaire Cercy whom she knew wielded a lot of power in the Casper area, she said. "I knew it was going to be a battle with the community."
She didn't want her parents to know how drunk she was that weekend.
She knew she would lose the longtime friends she partied with that weekend and endure the embarrassing glare of public opinion.
But the resistance crumbled three days later when she saw her father come to her work place about 9 a.m. because he'd heard the rumors about what happened to her daughter, she said.
As he approached the business, she told her boss she would need to take the day off.
She went outside to meet with her father and they cried together.
At that moment, Cercy called her and said he wanted to get the story straight about what happened that weekend. She put the phone on the speaker phone, her father took and it told Cercy to never call her again.
They went to her father's office, and met her mother who took her to the Wyoming Medical Center to meet with a sexual assault nurse examiner.
At the end of his questioning, Blonigen asked her if the man who assaulted her was in the courtroom.
She pointed to Cercy, who glowered in return.
During cross-examination, Mackey recounted some of the alleged victim's testimony in the previous trial including contradictory comments to her friends after she returned from Cercy's house to a trailer of now ex-friend Marcus Spurgin early June 25, 2017.
Mackey said the alleged victim told one person that she woke up with Cercy "halfway inside me," and to others that he raped her, that he was or was not wearing a shirt, that she told people that she was drunk and just imagined the assault, and that she discussed details of oral sex on Tuesday that had never been mentioned before.
The alleged victim often responded "incorrect" to Mackey's statements.
Blonigen and other attorneys, she added, coached her about what to say, and that she intended to file a civil lawsuit against Cercy. The alleged victim denied both assertions.
During the sexual assault examination at the hospital, photos showed the alleged victim had bruises on her legs supposedly because Cercy was on top of her legs during the assault.
But Mackey said those bruises were caused when she was drunk and trying to get in a boat that had been beached at Alcova Lake the day before the assault.
If the assault had happened like she said it had at Cercy's house, dogs in the next room where Cercy's wife and a friend were sleeping would have barked, Mackey added.
During his re-cross examination, Blonigen said the alleged victim's accounts of the sexual assault were basically the same, but using different terminology.
The trial resumes at the Hot Springs County Court House 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.