A former friend of the alleged victim in a rape trial said Tuesday that she lied in an initial interview with law enforcement when she said the victim told the defendant she was 20 years old.
The Montana Standard is not naming the alleged victim to protect potential victims of sexual assault.
Jay Dee Davisson, 47, of Butte is accused of providing alcohol to a 15-year-old girl and having intercourse with her without consent.
Davisson pleaded not guilty to a felony count of sexual intercourse without consent, which, if convicted, carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
He is also facing a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child, which carries a maximum sentence of six months in county jail and a $500 fine.
Davisson is accused of picking up the victim and aforementioned friend on a Butte street during the early morning of Aug. 2, 2020, giving them whiskey from a bottle he had in his car and having non-consensual intercourse with the victim, all the while aware she was under 16 years old, the age of consent in Montana.
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In her initial statement to police, the friend of the victim said that she heard the victim tell Davisson she was 20 years old, and that he had reason to believe she was 20 because the friend herself was 19-going-on-20 at the time.
She also said that on Aug. 2, 2020, she didn’t see the victim drink any alcohol given to her by Davisson and that she didn’t know how the victim got so drunk.
On the stand Tuesday, she said both these statements were untrue.
“I was scared for my life,” she said when asked why she lied in her first interview.
She explained she was scared because she herself had sexual relations with the victim, who she knew was 15, and was worried she would be arrested for statutory rape. She minimized her sexual interaction with law enforcement in her initial interview.
She’s also best friends with Davisson’s daughter and said she was scared she would lose that friendship.
The friend was granted use immunity by the state, which means that she can’t be prosecuted if she incriminates herself. She was subpoenaed to appear in court.
Jack Morris, Davisson’s defense attorney, threw doubt on which version of the witness’s story was the truth.
The victim’s friend said Tuesday that she heard the victim tell Davisson she was 15 on July 27, 2020, when he bought her, the victim and another friend alcohol.
She also said that Davisson offered both her and the victim whiskey when they were driving around on Aug. 2 and that both she and the victim took swigs from it. The bottle was never recovered.
The victim’s friend told Butte-Silver Bow patrol officer, then-Detective, Josh Stearns in initial interviews that after she kissed her, the victim started having sex with Davisson while all three of them were in Davisson’s vehicle.
On the stand Tuesday, she said that while Davisson digitally penetrated the victim and tried to have “full-on” sex with her, it “didn’t work” and he didn’t ejaculate.
DNA that matched Davisson was found on swabs taken from the victim.
Due to the elapsed time and her own intoxication, the victim’s friend said on the stand that her memories of that day were “fuzzy.”
Stearns testified Tuesday that Davisson stated in his initial interview the only time he had sex with the victim was in the car. Davisson told Stearns in the same interview that he thought the victim was 20 because she told him she was and because she was out late at night and hanging out with an almost-20-year-old. He told the officer that he never would’ve bought the victim alcohol if he knew she was 15.
After stopping at the Flying J gas station at about 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 2 and driving around for a couple of hours, the victim’s friend said Davisson dropped her off at home at her request, and although she tried to get the victim to go with her, she didn’t, and was “black-out drunk.”
Stearns also testified Tuesday as the case agent and answered questions about a number of video clips of footage taken from the Flying J gas station and Red Lion Hotel in Rocker.
The clips showed Davisson carrying the victim in his arms. She appears limp in the video clip. This clip came more than an hour after video from the Red Lion shows Davisson returning to the hotel in his car.
The trial continues Wednesday in District Judge Robert Whelan's court.