Woman testifies in sexual assault trial of former church, school official
A 20-year-old woman who said she had a long-term sexual relationship as a minor with a former teacher and school board member testified Thursday that she didn’t know the contact was wrong.
The woman gave detailed accounts of being photographed naked, watching pornography videos with the defendant and using numerous sex toys during regular intercourse for about five years with 68-year-old Rodney Eddy of Mesa.
Eddy, a former deacon of Mesa View Bible Church, a former member of the Plateau Valley School Board and a former substitute teacher with School District 51, is being tried this week on 36 felony counts related to sexual assaults on the girl starting in 2003 when she was 14. Eddy is attending his trial and is free in lieu of $175,000 bail.
A flier on the door of the Mesa County District courtroom for Judge Valerie Robison says that anyone under 18 is prohibited from entering and warns that testimony and evidence in the case is sexually graphic.
The woman testified that she lived in the Eddy home along with his wife until February 2008, when she left after Eddy and his wife began having disagreements. Eddy was arrested in December 2008.
She went to live with her biological parents in Grand Junction. While in her parents’ home, the woman testified, watching the television show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” revealed to her that her relationship with Eddy was wrong. The show features stories of rape and sexual assaults.
“At the time I didn’t think anything was wrong with my relationship with Mr. Eddy,” the woman testified. “Once I was back with my parents, I realized it wasn’t normal and it wasn’t right.”
The woman told her parents about the abuse in May 2008 and then notified law enforcement, she testified.
The woman testified that during their relationship, Eddy took a couple of pictures of her naked, instructing her how to pose, and once told her to place a pillow over her face so she wouldn’t be recognizable in the photo.
The woman testified that she was afraid to retrieve her belongings because she thought Eddy would threaten to kill himself, as he had in the past, if their relationship were revealed.
“I was afraid he would convince me not to leave,” she testified.
She said she only had one other friend in Mesa at the time, but they were never alone to talk. The woman said she didn’t disclose her relationship with Eddy because she didn’t know it was wrong.
When she went to church with the Eddys, it appeared that Rodney Eddy was held in high regard in the church and in the community, she testified.
“He was much respected in the community,” she said.
The trial is slated to run through Feb. 12.