Trial begins for former St. Raphael teacher accused of sexual abuse
Philip Anderson is the former teacher and coach at St. Raphael in Louisville charged with sodomy and sexual abuse for a decades-old case.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The first day of trial for Philip "Dale" Anderson concluded Wednesday evening. Anderson is the former teacher and coach at St. Raphael in Louisville charged with sodomy and sexual abuse for a decades-old case. He is pleading not guilty.
The Commonwealth has the burden of proof in this criminal case. First, both sides set the groundwork with opening statements. Alicia Gomez, the Commonwealth’s assistant attorney, told the jury they would hear clear details of sexual abuse from the victim. Gomez said the jury would have no doubt to find Anderson guilty by the end.
Next, Anderson’s attorney, Scott Foster, told the jurors they will notice over the course of the trial “flawed statements” and that the victim was looking for a scapegoat.
The prosecution’s first witness was the victim, now a 47-year-old man. The victim explained Anderson was his science teacher and basketball coach at St. Raphael more than 30 years ago. The victim said Anderson favorited him and treated him as a teacher’s pet. This was the type of special attention, the victim explained, he wasn’t getting at home because he had a bad relationship with his father.
The first alleged sexual encounter happened when the victim said he was about 11 or 12 years old. He said Anderson was giving him a ride, like he did on many occasions according to the victim, and told the victim he needed to make a stop at his parents’ house.
According to the victim, Anderson took him into the basement of Anderson’s parents’ house and gave him a pair of blue “Fruit of the Loom” underwear to model. The victim said he put them on and Anderson was admiring him on the couch.
“He pulled the underwear down and the whole time he was asking me, ‘Are you OK? Are you OK?’” That’s when the victim says Anderson sexually abused him.
The second and third alleged incidents of sexual abuse happened in Anderson’s parents’ pool, the victim said. The victim described being scared and screaming both times.
In the courtroom, the prosecution showed pictures on a large screen of the home and pool in questions and had the victim point out where the incidents happened. The victim said after the third incident, Anderson started to ignore him and give more attention to other students at school.
“He had a way of twisting things to where it was always my fault,” the victim said.
The prosecution asked the victim why he continued to be around Anderson after the first, second and third incidents. The victim told the jury that “it might sound crazy,” but he still wanted that approval and attention he wasn’t getting at home. But he said he was too scared to tell anyone about the sexual abuse until about two years ago.
“When you're a kid, you just want it to go away,” the victim said. “You don't want to think about it. You don't want to tell anybody. You don't want to take that chance.”
Once the victim reported the abuse to Louisville Crimes Against Children, a detective took on the case and helped the victim make contact with Anderson. The two exchanged Facebook messages, text messages, and recorded phone calls, which the prosecution brought up as evidence.
The victim read the messages and texts out loud to the jury. The messages and texts included casual conversation as the two caught up, but the victim also brought up the sexual encounters and asked if Anderson would want to call or meet again.
In the three recorded phone calls with detectives present, the victim told Anderson he was trying to figure out “who he was” and needed someone to talk to. The victim told Anderson he was struggling in his marriage, abusing alcohol and wondering whether or not he was gay.
"I obviously did something I shouldn't,” Anderson told him on the call before agreeing to meet with the victim.
Before passing it on to the defense, the prosecution reminded the jurors that these conversations were planned with detectives and what was said was calculated to allow Anderson to provide details of the incidents.
Upon cross-examination, the defense questioned the victim’s timeline of events, pointing out discrepancies of what ages and years the victim said the abuse happened. A letter written by the victim to Anderson was also brought in as evidence.
Based on the letter, the victim would’ve been finishing the eighth grade when it was written. In the letter, the victim told Anderson he was jealous when Anderson drove other kids around in his car. The victim also wrote he never got along with his father and looked up to Anderson. The victim said he did not recall ever writing the letter.
The defense also asked whether the victim was coached through the police recorded phone calls and was setting “traps” to incriminate Anderson. The victim replied he wanted to hear Anderson say what he did.
Once the defense finished cross-examining the witness, the judge called a recess for the day. The jury, made up of eight women and five men, will return Thursday to continue the trial at 10 a.m.
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