BARRY Co, Mich. — Barry County prosecutor Christopher Ellsworth and Chad Curtis’s defense attorney, David Dodge, gave their opening statements, Monday afternoon.
Curtis is a former major league baseball player who’s on trial for several charges of criminal sexual misconduct. He’s accused of sexually assaulting three teenage girls. The girls were students at Lakewood High School, where Curtis was a substitute teacher and volunteer strength trainer.
The first witness to take the stand was one of the alleged victims. She recalled Curtis’s alleged misdeeds, which she said occurred in the summer of 2011. She was 16 at the time and is now 18. The young woman claims that she met Curtis after a friend referred her to him for strength training. That friend said Curtis could help the girl become a better athlete.
The alleged victim said Curtis became a mentor, and she became a friend of the Curtis family. She said he would help her stretch, but she claimed the stretches and massages became inappropriate. She said Curtis caressed, kissed and touched her inappropriately in private areas. These alleged actions took place in an isolated training room in the school.
She said she tried to rationalize his alleged actions, thinking it would somehow make her a better athlete. During the second encounter, she said she told Curtis “no,” and he became apologetic. She said he asked her to pray with him for forgiveness. The young woman said he then asked if she enjoyed any of it.
The witness said she thought about Curtis’s family and told herself that she was going to pretend like nothing happened. She remained close friends with Curtis’s daughter who is the same age.
The defense began cross-examination on the first witness but did not finish. Questioning by the defense will continue Tuesday morning.