Saturday October 27, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A man on trial for rape took the stand in his own defense on Friday and told a Berk shire Superior Court jury that he didn’t abuse the young girl who claims he molested her over the course of three years.

Ciro Reyes-Palma, the 41-year-old Great Barrington man on trial for 11 charges, including multiple counts of child rape with force, told the jury he was out working during much of the period when the alleged abuse took place. When asked by his attorney, Jill Sheldon, whether he had raped and abused the girl, the defendant answered: "No Š of course not."

The trial got under way Wednesday after three days of jury selection with testimony from the alleged victim. The 15-year-old said Reyes-Palma be gan abusing her sometime in the spring of 2009, when she was 12, until January 2011, when the alleged crimes came to light. The abuse took place in Reyes-Palma’s Great Bar rington home, according to prosecutor Rachael Eramo.

Reyes-Palma said he was working six to seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. until 8 or 9 p.m. during most of the time the abuse is alleged to have occurred. During the winter he was working at a shop on Route 7 near Great Barrington, he told the jury.

The defendant, who is originally from Mexico, required the use of a Spanish interpreter during the trial, as did many of the witnesses for the prosecution and the defense. This and an emergency preparedness test that cleared the courtroom during Friday’s testimony have slowed down the trial’s pace.

On Monday, Reyes-Palma will be under cross-examination by Eramo, followed by final summations by both attorneys.

The jury is expected to begin deliberating the same day.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
aamelinckx@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6249.
On Twitter: @BETheAmelinckx