Sexual assault trial finishes second day

MORGANTOWN — The prosecution rested and the defense presented its case during the second day of trial for a former WVU professor accused of second-degree sexual assault.

Joseph Baltimore, 41, is alleged to have digitally penetrated a woman while she slept causing her to wake up, a charge he denied during his testimony on Wednesday.

Monongalia County Circuit Court Judge Susan Tucker is presiding over the case.

Baltimore said in his testimony there was no penetration of any kind, but said he and the alleged victim, who he met earlier that night, did get “hot and heavy” and that there was touching of a sexual nature.

The Dominion Post does not typically publish the names of victims or alleged victims of sexual crimes.

DNA samples collected from two of Baltimore’s fingers showed a profile consistent with both Baltimore and the alleged victim, Joshua Haynes, a forensic scientist with the State Police laboratory in Charleston, testified. Vaginal swabs from the woman did not have any of Baltimore’s DNA, Haynes told Joseph Spano, defense attorney.

The early parts of Baltimore’s testimony of Aug. 2, 2017, leading into Aug. 3, when the incident happened mostly matches that of other witnesses.

Baltimore said he went to Big Times near the end of his night out with friends. His friend, Jordan Goss, the bartender, told him that her roommate was upset because of a guy and said she didn’t have time to comfort her because of work. Goss testified yesterday.

Baltimore said he started speaking with the girl, his alleged victim, to cheer her up. He said it seemed to work. Baltimore described some of the conversation as flirtatious.

Monongalia County Prosecutor Perri DeChristopher asked him what part of the conversation he considered flirtatious. Baltimore said it was more about her body language and it was what you would expect if you met someone at a bar and were happy about it. He said the two spoke for at least 15 minutes, before she went to the bathroom and left, though Baltimore said he didn’t see her leave.

The victim testified on Tuesday she did not remember talking to Baltimore at Big Times.

After Goss was off work, she and Baltimore went back to her apartment. Baltimore lost his phone and Goss said he could sleep on her couch.

Baltimore said he regularly loses his phone, a statement two character witnesses called by the defense agreed with.

At Goss’ apartment, she, Baltimore and the victim continued to talk on the couch until the sun rose and Goss went to bed. Baltimore said one topic of discussion was how Morgantown’s bar life can suck you in and that he wanted Goss or another employee to come speak to one of his classes about it.

Baltimore said he went to use the bathroom and then snuggled on the couch with the victim. After some time, she woke up and led Baltimore to her room, where they resumed cuddling on her bed. He said the two of them started making out and touching each other, but he was uable to have sex so he left her room and the awkward situation.

He decided to leave and started looking around the apartment for his phone, Baltimore said. He checked the couch, the woman’s room, woke her up and was still unable to find it.

DeChristopher asked Baltimore why he forgot that he lost his phone the night before. He attributed it to his “general horribleness” with losing his phone.

When he went into the victim’s room for the third time looking for his phone, she snapped, Baltimore said. The woman screamed at him to get out and so he left and decided to walk home. Baltimore said he put his shoes on and saw the woman leave the apartment. He went to get a drink from the sink when Courtney Wright, the victim’s friend, came into the apartment yelling at him.

Wright also testified on Wednesday. Wright said she woke up to several text messages from the victim and called her as soon as she saw them, then went over to her place.

Baltimore said he didn’t understand what was going on, as Wright called him a rapist, the first he heard the accusation. He said he thinks Wright was a huge factor to why the police ended up at his house later that day.

Jurors also heard testimony from Brandon Viola, the Morgantown Police detective who investigated the case. Jessica Mongold, a nurse, testified about the rape kit collection process she performed on the alleged victim.

The trial will continue Thursday.

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