Testimony: Teen had sex with drug counselor

Rebecca Q. Winters

DOVER — A teen testified Monday to knowledge of alleged sex acts committed by a friend and his counselor during a stay at Crossroads of Delaware drug and alcohol treatment center.

The defendant, Rebecca Q. Winters (also known as Adams), is charged with 36 counts of sexual abuse of a child by a person in a position of trust, and two counts of providing alcohol to a minor. She is accused of taking part in an alleged sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy she counseled in 2015.

The afternoon began with a 15-year-old former Crossroads client describing her trips to Rehoboth Beach and movies at Dover Mall with Ms. Winters and the youth. She testified to allegedly seeing the teen rubbing Ms. Winters’ feet at the movies and holding hands at the beach.

In August 2015, an anonymous tip from Crossroads to the Delaware Division of Family Services spurred a police investigation that culminated in Ms. Winters’ arrest. Milford-based Crossroads later closed its business.

The youth’s mother testified that her son initially hesitated to disclose the alleged affair for fear of Ms. Winters treatment and his own getting in trouble. He twice denied any alleged inappropriate relationship to police before first admitting it to his mother’s boyfriend, according to her testimony.

“He was devastated,” she said. She also described her son to be in shock, scared and afraid, eventually becoming withdrawn for three months afterward.

The mother said that after learning from police of a possible relationship involving her son, Ms. Winters called her the same day in disbelief and vowing to go to authorities and clear the matter up.

At one point, according to the girl on the witness stand, she allegedly saw Ms. Winters and the minor with hickies on their necks. In later testimony, the teen’s mother said the counselor called her that day to explain that her son had allegedly hooked up with a female teen while in the van.

Trips to beach

Riding in the van to the beach as Ms. Adams drove, according to testimony, the minor allegedly handed the girl a marijuana blunt to smoke and cup of alcohol to drink from. Ms. Winters allegedly attempted to toss the cup out the window, but was unsuccessful, the girl said.

According to the girl, the youth allegedly texted her from Ms. Winters’ Dover apartment and “basically tell me everything … They had sex. he did things to her, she did things to him.”

While the youth only told her of twice allegedly visiting Ms. Adams’ apartment, she testified to believing it was more based on her closeness to the teen.

The youth was sent to Crossroads in April 2015 by a court order that shifted his treatment from Psychiatric Services Incorporated, his mother said. She was unhappy with the switch, citing her son’s progress while at PSI.

The mother said her son was in Intensive Outpatient Therapy at PSI, but never told that would continue at Crossroads.

Ms. Adams began to arrive more frequently to take her son after regular counseling hours, the mother testified, including some late nights and weekend get-togethers,

The girl testified she and other clients would leave Crossroads frequently to smoke cigarettes and marijuana and engage in water fights.

At one point, the girl testified, a counselor she named as “Mr. Calvin” discovered the marijuana smoking and “He was pretty mad.” No discipline was ordered, according to the teen.

According to the mother, Ms. Winters’ once allegedly called to report her son’s positive drug test she said “would be swept under the rug.”

Hospital examination

A registered nurse working in the Bayhealth-Kent General Emergency Room testified to examining the youth on Aug. 18, 2015, and detected no physical or forensic signs of sexual abuse. That would not be unusual if there was no act forcibly committed, she said.

The time had passed for a test kit and swab for DNA, the nurse testified.

While at the hospital, the juvenile allegedly told staff he had consensual sexual intercourse and oral sex with his counselor from April 30 until May 14, the nurse testified. He had spoken with a police detective after the DFS notified them of concerns complained.

The teen tested negative for Sexually Transmitted Infections, but positive for marijuana, according to the nurse.

Police were contacted due to the youth’s alleged statements on his sexual activity, the nurse said, and they confirmed an investigation was ongoing and no admission had been made. According to the nurse, the youth allegedly said he had previously lied to police before to avoid trouble.

Fielding questions from prosecution and defense for more than an hour, the nurse dissected parts of a 41-page medical report on the adolescent’s hospital visit.

According to the nurse, medical standards consider patients 12 and under as children.

A Delaware Department of Correction juvenile probation officer testified to a GPS on the youth’s ankle indicating several times when he returned home past his 6 p.m. curfew, including a couple – one at 11:22 p.m. — deemed troubling due to the lateness.

The officer said there could be excused late arrivals home for certain activities, but she had no specific knowledge of any records. The boy’s mother also expressed concerns to her about missed curfews, according to the officer.

The testifying officer said she had discussed late arrivals with a partner case worker and violations had been registered.

“When, why and how, I can’t give you the details,” she said.

At one point, Mr. Malik noted for the record he believed one juror had fallen asleep during testimony, and Judge Jeffrey Clark alluded to long periods of jurors looking with eyes down on screens with GPS information. The judge said he would monitor the situation as the trial proceeded.

“When jurors are asleep I tend to have concerns,” Mr. Malik said.

Accusations, changing versions

Mr. Malik opened by accusing the youth of pointing his finger at the counselor and making baseless accusations. He also pointed to his 5-foot-10, 185-pound frame which is what most people call a young man or teenager, not a child.

The defense also argued that the minor’s story changed several times, going from denial twice before admission of an alleged inappropriate relationship. At one point, according to Mr. Malik, the youth was found to have bragged about an alleged romance with his counselor.

Also, the teen’s family filed a civil lawsuit against Ms. Winters and Crossroads seeking monetary compensation before the charged had been indicted in 2015, Mr. Malik said.

Deputy Attorney General Kathy Dickerson opened by saying evidence would confirm alleged sexual encounters at Ms. Winters’ apartment, Crossroads of Delaware, the Dover Mall, Redner’s, and Wal-Marts in Camden and Cheswold.

The trial is scheduled to resume today at 9 a.m.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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