Victim recounts alleged abuse by former Stockbridge school counselor Scott Muir
PITTSFIELD -- In a soft-spoken but firm tone, a former student on Thursday detailed how she allegedly was sexually abused by former school counselor Scott Muir 10 years ago.
Muir, 39, faces 20 counts in connection with a series of sexual assaults on young girls, 8-10, while he was a school counselor at both the Stockbridge Plain and Muddy Brook Elementary Schools.
Muir has pleaded not guilty to all these counts and is free on $10,000 bail. Thursday was third day of a Berkshire Superior Court trial expected to last into next week.
The Eagle does not publish the names of the victims of sexual assault.
The girl, now 18, told Assistant District Attorney Joseph Yorlano that Muir began touching her in the latter part of her second grade year at Stockbridge Plain School. At times, she had to stop to collect herself during her testimony.
She said she was visiting Muir often that year, sometimes once or twice a week. She and other female students would sometimes eat lunch in Muir's office. The other girls would leave, and the victim would stay.
At first, she said, she would sit on Muir's lap in his office and play with Muir's computer, usually computer games. Those visits lasted a few minutes.
After several visits, she said, Muir began rubbing her legs and arms. Eventually, she said, Muir unbuttoned her pants and began fondling her buttocks. Finally, she said, his hand "came around front" and he penetrated her digitally.
Sometimes, she said, Muir would touch her chest and go below her waist at the same time.
"What was your response to this?" asked Yorlano.
"I would sit there and play with the computer and pretend it wasn't happening," said the victim softly.
After the visits, she said, Muir would give her little gifts: pens, or a pad of sticky notes.
The victim was unclear as to how often it happened. Eventually, she said, she began feigning illness to avoid visiting Muir. However, at one point, Muir followed her to the nurse's office and molested her again.
"He said that would be the last time," the victim said of the visit to the nurse's office. But, she said, he assaulted her again once the next year.
Defense attorney William A. Rota questioned the victim's recall, specifically how often the assaults happened. He expressed skepticism when the victim said they happened, sometimes, two or three times a week.
Rota also reminded the victim that she and the four other victims in the case were suing the school district and Muir for financial damages.
"You realize," he said, "that if Mr. Muir is convicted, it improves your chances of recovering money from him and the school district."
"I actually didn't realize that," the victim said.
Later Thursday, Krista Kennedy, an art teacher at Monument Mountain Regional High School, testified that the victim confided to her 2012 her that she had been sexually assaulted in 2004.
The girl, Kennedy said, could not initially recall Muir's name, although she knew where his office was.
"She told me she remembered his face," Kennedy said.
Kennedy testified that the victim initially was adamant about not telling anyone, "because she didn't want to upset her father."
Prior to the testimony of these two witness, four former Plain School students testified that they visited Muir several times that year. Muir, they said, often bounced them on his knee. In several cases, they testified, he would bounce two girls on each of his knees at once.
Sometimes, they said, they would sit on his lap with their backs to him, sometimes they sat with their legs dangling down between Muir's.
Sometimes, one of the students said, Muir would become breathing heavily.
"It seemed as though he would get out of breath sometimes," said one former student, Sofia Naylor, now 17.
Most admitted that at the time, they weren't particularly uncomfortable, and that they did not recall Muir touching them on their buttocks or front.
"I was just being a kid," said Jamie Keefner, now 22, "You wanted to be the teacher's pet. You wanted to be liked. Now? I realize it was extremely inappropriate."
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