ST. ALBANS — After months of hearings, false starts, motions and money, Norm McAllister’s trial almost wrapped up in one day. Almost.
The State rested just past 3:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The defense, led by Bob Katims, told the court it planned to call one witness this morning.
The lead witness’s testimony took up most of Thursday.
She said most of what state prosecutor John Lavoie had told the jury, in his opening remarks, she would say. How she responded to a Craigslist post, advertising a job at a goat farm that could include housing.
It was the housing part that made it so attractive, the woman said. Her Department of Children and Families (DCF) housing coordinator told her that DCF required she have suitable housing to get her children back.
“My hope was to have them in one home with me,” the woman said. She was already attending counseling, another stipulation of getting her kids back. She needed a job and a stable home with at least two bedrooms.
She also had to avoid anyone DCF determined “unsafe,” like her estranged husband.
The woman called the number with the Craigslist ad, and spoke to its poster: Norm McAllister. He told her the job involved assisting with milking goats, and, primarily, taking care of the baby goats. The woman told him she had partially grown up on a dairy farm, milking 100 cows.
But he was already speaking with people who were more qualified, she said McAllister told her. He’d get back to her.
They spoke a second time, she said, having the same basic conversation. This time, the woman said she would go “above and beyond” the job posting — she’d do housecleaning for McAllister and his wife and run their errands.
That was an offer she repeated on the third call, she said.
McAllister, she said, replied: “So you’d be willing to do anything?”
She said she repeated her offer.
“No,” she said he said, “I mean, like — anything?”
At that point, she told Lavoie, she began to understand what he was really asking about. “I felt like it might be of a sexual nature,” she said. “I remember taking a deep breath, and I said, ‘Yes.’”
“Knowing he was propositioning you, you agreed?” Lavoie asked.
“I did,” she said, in tears.
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