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Trial begins for Ekwok man accused of sexual assault


Fred Tom Hurley III, 25, is accused of assaulting a woman at her Ekwok home in June of 2016.

The trial for Fred Tom Hurley III of Ekwok got underway Tuesday morning. Hurley is accused of second-degree sexual assault. In June of 2016, he was staying in the home of the woman who reported the assault.

District Attorney Dan Doty explained in opening remarks that Hurley and the woman were longtime friends and she had agreed to let Hurley stay on her living room couch. She went to sleep in her bedroom.

“Around eight in the morning, she woke up to find someone’s fingers in her vagina. She was turned to face away from the door, so she couldn’t immediately see who it was that was doing this to her, but she knew that it was Fred because he was the only other person in the house,” said Doty.

As the woman’s bedroom is small, she reported that when she tried to roll over, her assailant fled the room and her home.

Hurley’s attorney, Christopher Lesch, opened the defense by stating that Hurley is innocent. He also told the jury that the state lacks sufficient evidence to make its case in part because the accuser did not see Hurley commit assault or flee her room.

“The state is not going to be able to present you any additional evidence to bolster her credibility. There’s no secondary testimony from another person who witnessed the alleged events or the events on the day in question. There is going to be no forensic evidence. The state will not be able to meet its burden at the end of this trial. And that is why you’re going to find Mr. Hurley not guilty. Now, Mr. Hurley is not guilty because he didn’t do it,” said Lesch.

Hurley looked on without visible interest during opening remarks and as his accuser gave testimony. The state and the defense hope to conclude their arguments today.

This case was tried previously in the fall in front of the same judge. Judge Gregory Heath declared those proceedings a mistrial because the state did not provide the defense all relevant case materials.

Contact the author at avery@kdlg.org or 907-842-5281.