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Rape trial jury hears closing arguments

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

Prosecutors expect a verdict this week in the trial of a New Hampshire man charged with raping two Irish students in a deserted graveyard last year.

The jury in the trial heard closing arguments Tuesday afternoon in Rockingham County Superior Court, a week after one of the victims took the stand to recount how Steven Gordon assaulted her and a friend at gunpoint.

The woman, described as a college graduate in her 20s from the southeast of Ireland, told how Gordon, an ex-convict, allegedly forced her to perform sexual acts before raping her and making her watch as he then assaulted her friend, county prosecutor James Reams said.

Reams portrayed the victims as two young women looking for fun in America, two women whose adventure turned into a horror story once they met with Gordon. Prosecutors expect a jury verdict on Wednesday.

The two women were working on temporary student visas for the summer when they were assaulted in June 1998. Prosecutors charge Gordon kidnapped the two victims at gunpoint, forced them into a rented car and then sexually assaulted them.

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Gordon has been charged with four counts of felonious sexual assault, although two abduction charges were dropped because the second woman was too frightened to return to America to testify, prosecutors said. He still faces other related abduction charges in nearby Portsmouth County.

Gordon’s attorney, Philip Desfosses, could not be reached for comment. But according to the local Telegraph newspaper, in court Desfosses asked the women whether she had been so drunk that she had end up naked in a field having sex with a complete stranger.

Desfosses also questioned why the woman had told police that she was in a black jeep when Gordon’s rented red Ford Escort was found at the scene. Police said Gordon had crashed the car on a headstone, forcing him to abandon the vehicle.

At the time of the attack, Gordon was on parole after having served a five-year sentence for sexual assault. He is also wanted for questioning in the rape of a Manchester real estate agent earlier in the year and a string of local robberies.

Police said after the assault Gordon fled the country for Belgium, where he surrendered to the authorities at the American embassy.

Prosecutors also said Gordon called his parole officer from Amsterdam while on the run to confess he had assaulted two Irish girls. He was eventually extradited to the United States in February to face trial.

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