Greenwich sex abuse trial begins with victim testimony

The Stamford trial of former Greenwich resident Ronald Joseph began Tuesday with the hours long testimony a 23-year-old girl who said had been sexually assaulted by Joseph for years since she was about eight years old.

The woman, whose name is not being disclosed by The Advocate to protect her identity, said Joseph, 52, began his abuse by touching her but became violent when she tried to keep him away from her baby sister.

As Joseph watched and listened with a Creole interpreter whispering a translation of the testimony into his ear, the woman said one day she came down stairs in the Greenwich home they used to live in to see Joseph playing with her sister under the covers on the living room couch. Under questioning by Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Maureen Ornowski, the woman said she became afraid that he was touching her private parts in the same way he used to touch hers.

When she tried to lure her sister out his arms, Joseph, a Canadian national who has been jailed in lieu of a $250,000 court appearance bond since his arrest in June 2010, became angry and stood up causing the toddler to fall and hit her face on the floor.

She said he grabbed her and said, “I know what you want,” before he raped her.

“His breath reeked of garbage, his palms were sweaty and I was in a lot of pain,” she said on the stand. After the attack she said she went upstairs and took off her bloody underwear and never wore underwear again.

The woman said she was raped under similar circumstances after the family moved to Norwalk.

When asked how many times she had been sexually abused by Joseph she said, “I cannot say. It happened multiple times.”

While in middle school after moving to Norwalk she said that used a knife and pencil to carve on her bedroom wall the words, “I hate Ronald” and “God will save me.”

The woman testified that Joseph’s sexual abuse stopped when she was 12, during 8th grade.

And a year later she said she told her mother what Joseph had done to her, but he denied it and they never spoke of it until more than a year later.

The allegations of her sexual abuse became a matter for law enforcement after she called the West Haven police department in 2010, where she was living at the time, and told them she wanted to hurt herself, and she was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital and put in the psychiatric ward for a day.

She said she was driven to cut herself in high school, and even tried to kill herself around the same time, because of the abuse she suffered under Joseph.

After being released from the hospital, she went to the Greenwich police and swore out a complaint against Joseph.

Joseph’s attorney Matthew Couloute cross examined her about her statement to Greenwich police and specifically about her claim about the bloody underwear. Showing her the statement, Couloute got the woman to admit that she told police that Joseph removed her underwear before raping her.

How did the blood get on the underwear if Joseph took the brief’s off before the sexual assault, Couloute asked.

Stymied for a moment, the woman said she must have put them back on before going upstairs and cleaned herself off.

Why would you put the underwear back on, Couloute asked.

“I don’t specifically remember,” she said.

Couloute also asked her about her hospital stay and why a hospital worker that checked her in wrote in a report that she did not give any one reason or traumatic experience that caused her suicidal thoughts.

But the woman insisted on the stand that it was what she experienced with Joseph that drove her to despair and the hospital.

Couloute also asked why if she was being abused she did not tell her mother as soon as it happened.

The woman said, “I did not know what sex was. I did not understand it. I knew something was wrong, I just didn’t know particularly what was wrong about it,” she said.

When asked if she had any shred of physical evidence to show what Joseph did to her, the woman replied, “no.”

Joseph charged with two counts of first-degree sexual assault and child endangerment.