Accuser testifies in rape trial of Ware man

  • Arthur E. Salsbury Jr., 42, of Ware, with his attorney David Mintz in Hampshire Superior Court on Tuesday, May 29, 2018.  GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 5/22/2019 7:15:14 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The rape trial of former tow truck driver Arthur E. Salsbury Jr. entered its second day on Wednesday, and saw Salsbury’s accuser take the stand in Hampshire Superior Court.

Called as a witness by the prosecution, Salsbury’s accuser said she got into a car with Salsbury in Holyoke on a night in February 2018, thinking he was a person with whom she had arranged a date on the dating website Tinder, where the exchange of sex for money was discussed. The woman said she was working as an escort at the time.

The accuser testified that she later discovered that Salsbury was not the person she had been chatting with online. She also said that no discussions of sex for money were had with Salsbury that night.

The woman said they were supposed to be going to Salsbury’s home, but then Salsbury pulled into a business parking lot and began consuming whiskey. The woman said she became alarmed, and asked to be taken home, after which Salsbury allegedly became very angry, and told her he wasn’t bringing her home. The woman said that Salsbury snorted cocaine and began driving again.

“I knew I wasn’t going home,” she said, under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Suhl.

Salsbury, 42, of Ware, is accused of raping the woman in Dufresne Park in Granby on Feb. 23, 2018. He is being tried before a jury on two charges of aggravated rape and one count of kidnapping. As a matter of policy, the Gazette does not typically identify victims of rape and sexual assault.

Describing the night she was allegedly raped, the woman said that anytime she would cry or act upset, Salsbury would get angry and violent. She also said that she licked the caps of two Powerade bottles so that she would leave her DNA in his car.

“I was pretty sure he was going to kill me right there,” she said, when asked what she thought when they got to Dufresne Park.

The woman testified that Salsbury dragged her out of the car by her hair and arm to a gazebo in the park and raped her.

“That is where he raped me,” said the woman, when shown a picture of the gazebo by the prosecution.

The woman testified that after she distracted Salsbury, she ran into a nearby swamp, where she stayed put after sinking down past her knees in water and mud.

She then said that she made her way to a nearby house, where she was assisted by its owners, Lucy and Michael Lynch. She further testified to being taken to the hospital and questioned by police.

The woman said that while she originally consented to being examined at the hospital, she later withdrew her consent because she wanted to take a shower.

“I felt filthy,” said the accuser, sobbing. “I wanted him off of my body.”

In cross-examining the woman, David Mintz, Salsbury’s attorney, asked if she had consumed any narcotics or medication prior to meeting Salsbury, and the woman admitted to being under the influence of heroin when she met him. She also acknowledged that heroin could affect her sense of time under questioning.

Mintz also asked why she had not texted a friend when she became alarmed, noting that she had had her phone on her and sent two texts earlier in the evening.

“Hindsight is 20/20,” said the woman, who added that she did not know where she was. “I was thinking on how I was going to stay alive and get out of the vehicle.”

The woman also said that she hadn’t told the police at the hospital that she had used heroin the night before, and that she was suffering from heroin withdrawal at the time.

Also testifying Wednesday were Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Gary Darling and Corie Buelow, who works for a former employer of Salsbury.

Salsbury was indicted on charges related to the alleged rapes of five different women in 2018. Charges related to three of the alleged victims have been dropped, while the commonwealth plans to take the other two cases to trial.

Salsbury’s current trial is his first in these matters. The trial resumes Thursday.

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