Sexual assault case gets under way

A trial involving a Boone County Fire Protection District firefighter continues
Friday, August 17, 2007 | 2:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:30 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sniffling as she wiped tears off her face with a tissue, the soft-spoken woman described Thursday at the Boone County Courthouse how she was sexually assaulted by a Boone County Fire Protection District firefighter.

“I smelled alcohol (on him),” she testified.

The victim, whom the Missourian will not name to protect her privacy, said Jeremy A. Brady, 23, sexually assaulted her at the Boone County Fire Station #15 on the morning of July 15, 2006. Brady, a volunteer firefighter, pleaded not guilty to a charge of deviate sexual assault.

If convicted, Brady faces up to 10 years in prison.

In opening statements Thursday afternoon, assistant prosecutor Andrew Scholz told the Boone County jury of 10 men and 3 women, including one alternate juror, that the Union woman was following her dream of becoming a firefighter and EMT when Brady attacked her. He said the state would prove through DNA evidence that Brady sexually assaulted the woman.

Gerald Mueller, Brady’s lawyer, suggested in his opening statement that Brady was falsely accused by a woman who is lying so she can get money from the Fire Protection District and Brady, citing her personal injury lawsuit against the firefighter and the fire district stemming from the incident filed in September 2006.

“Much of the case will come down to the accuser’s credibility,” Mueller said.

During her testimony, the 21-year-old victim testified that she was residing at the fire station so she could attend classes that would allow her to become certified as an EMT. She said she went to dinner that night to Angelo’s Pizza and Steakhouse with Brady and two friends, where she and her friend drank a glass or less of beer each, with Brady and his friend drinking the remainder of the two pitchers of beer Brady ordered. She and her friend went back to the fire station that night, she said, while Brady and his friend went to a bar. Later that night, she said she drank a few sips of a tequila and orange juice while watching “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” then went to bed.

She said she locked the door of the guest bedroom she was sleeping in at the fire station before going to bed because her friend told her Brady liked to play tricks on people, like pouring water on them while they were sleeping. When she awoke a few hours later, she testified that Brady’s friend was running his fingers through her hair and stroking her face. She said he left after she told him to leave.

A couple of hours later, she said Brady had entered her room and had one hand on her breast and his fingers were in her vagina. She said she asked him what he was doing, prompting him to leave.

In his testimony, Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Smith described Brady as “cocky and arrogant,” and said the victim was crying almost hysterically when he arrived at the fire station that morning.

Mueller pointed out discrepancies in the victim’s story during depositions taken before the trial. He said her story changed each time she told it. One point he made was that she testified that she was sure she locked the door, but that she may not have properly latched it. But in her civil case, she claimed that the lock malfunctioned, and that maintaining functional locks was the responsibility of the fire district. He also pointed out that she told lawyers taking a deposition for the civil case that she did not know exactly what time Brady assaulted her, but that she testified on Thursday that she knew the time because she had looked at her cell phone.

“So your story has evolved over time?” Mueller asked the woman.

She admitted that while she may have been mistaken about details of that night during the depositions taken before the trial, the details of the attack had always remained the same.

Testimony in the case was expected to continue at the Boone County Courthouse today.

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