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Parker Gilbert Trial Opens

Trial Commentary: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7.

The Valley News had a detailed report today about the first day of the Parker Gilbert trial. The 14-person jury (including two alternates) visited Berry Hall in the College’s Maynard Street dorms, the scene of the alleged crime, and then returned to the Grafton County courthouse in North Haverhill.

Several reporters covered the visit, along with a documentary filmmaker. Gilbert’s defense team includes George Ostler ‘77 of DesMeules, Olmstead & Ostler in Norwich, VT; Cathy Green of Green & Utter in Manchester, NH; and Robert Cary ‘86 of Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C.

In recent days Grafton County Attorney Lara Saffo has sent subpoenas to numerous Dartmouth students — all members of fraternities and the men’s rugby club — who are now obliged to fly back to the Upper Valley from spring break. It is unclear whether any of these students have already been questioned at any length or formally deposed, and just what their function might be in Gilbert’s prosecution. Perhaps the State will seek to use their testimony to paint the College’s culture in a negative light, though I am told that there are unsavory stories to be told on both sides.

The trial could well be a PR nightmare for Dartmouth, with events and practices that occur at colleges everywhere being tied to the College.

Addendum: The D has a careful description of both opening statements and the testimony and cross-examination of the student who is accusing Gilbert of rape. The Valley News’ second report on the trial is considerably less explicit concerning the events in question than The D’s account, though it notes the occasional high level of alcohol consumption by the complainant.

Addendum: Comparing The D’s coverage with the Valley News’ reporting is of real interest. In the College’s famous Great Issues course, created by President John Sloan Dickey, students were asked to read the reporting on the same event by various news outlets.

Addendum: The trial is currently being covered by reporters from the Valley News, The Dartmouth, and two TV stations, WMUR and WCAX — only local press for the time being, at least.


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