Rape trial begins at Dukes County court

Carlos G. Stevenson appears in Dukes County Superior Court on Tuesday. —Stacey Rupolo

A Dukes County Superior Court jury heard opening arguments and the start of testimony in the trial of Carlos G. Stevenson, who is charged with rape of a child with force and five counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.

Mr. Stevens, 50, was born in Mexico but is a United States citizen. He owns Mosher Photo in Vineyard Haven. His wife, Heidi Ray Stevenson, is from Martha’s Vineyard, and they have two sons, 21 and 19 years old. His family was in the courtroom on Tuesday.

The trial was delayed for a few hours Tuesday as the court replaced a male juror who was dismissed for an undisclosed reason. That left only 13 potential jurors out of the 12 who will decide the case. When court reconvened at 2 pm, two jurors were added to the panel, which includes 12 women and three men.

In his preliminary remarks, Judge Mitchell Kaplan told the jury that the alleged incidents occurred between 2001 and 2003, and the rape of a child charge referred to alleged “digital rape,” the use of fingers in a forced sexual act on a child under the age of 16.

The five counts of indecent assault and battery of a child under the age of 14 referred to “intentional touching” of the alleged victim in that same time period.

Mr. Stevenson, who was indicted in 2014, has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

According to The Times archives, the indictments against Stevenson were upheld last year by the Supreme Judicial Court. A Superior Court judge had dismissed the charges against Stevenson in May of 2015 because the woman did not testify before the Grand Jury. The SJC ruling found that the she was not required to testify and that a police detective was able to articulate the facts of the case clearly for jurors.

In the prosecution’s opening arguments on Tuesday, prosecutor Laura Marshard told the jury that the alleged victim, who at the time was between the ages of 10 and 13 and lived next door to Mr. Stevenson, babysat for and was playmates with his two sons, and that the incidents occurred in the Stevenson’s home and at a neighbor’s home while they were away.

The defense attorney, Janice Bassil, said the allegations were false. There is no physical evidence, no DNA, no confession, and no eye witnesses, she said.

The woman, who is now 26 years old, Ms. Bassil told the jury, is “a troubled young girl,” who has struggled with substance use — citing alcohol and heroin.

The woman’s boyfriend notified police in 2014 about the incidents, according to the defense. On June 26, 2014, police interviewed the young woman about the allegations at the Dukes County courthouse, on the same day she was there to be arraigned for her second offense for driving under the influence.

The woman was the first witness to take the stand. She hung her head as she told the court that Mr. Stevenson touched her inappropriately and forced her to touch his penis on multiple occasions.

Two sets of photos and one map were submitted as evidence. The map was an aerial Google map image of Mayflower Lane, the street where both Mr. Stevenson and the child at the time lived in Vineyard Haven. The young woman identified her house at the time, and the two houses where the incidents occurred.

One set of photos detailed the neighbor’s home, and the other set detailed the Stevenson’s basement, which the alleged victim identified.

She said she didn’t tell her parents because Mr. Stevenson told her not to, and because she was embarrassed.

“It felt shameful that it happened,” she said.

Testimony is expected to continue Wednesday morning.