Teen in sex abuse trial testifies against drug counselor

 

DOVER — Speaking in a monotone voice while showing little or no outward emotion for several hours, an alleged juvenile victim of sexual abuse by a drug and alcohol counselor testified to his recollections of an affair in 2015 on Wednesday.

Rebecca Q. Winters, left, exits Kent County Courthouse with her mother Alberta Crowley late Wednesday afternoon. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

Rebecca Q. Winters, left, exits Kent County Courthouse with her mother Alberta Crowley late Wednesday afternoon. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

The juvenile, now 17, fielded questions from prosecution and defense from approximately 9 a.m. to 4:10 p.m., with morning and lunch breaks. The jury trial is scheduled to resume today and Friday at 1 p.m. before 13 jurors (eight women, five men) and Kent County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clark.

Rebecca Q. Winters (also known as Adams) is facing multiple counts of sexual abuse of a child by a person of trust and providing alcohol to a minor following allegations while employed at now-closed Crossroads of Delaware last year.

According to the youth from the stand, alleged sexual encounters with Ms. Winters, 30 when charged by Dover Police, took place at her Dover residence, Crossroads workplace in Milford, parking lots at Dover Mall, Cheswold and Camden Wal-mart stores, and Redner’s Market in Camden. The minor estimated that at least 10 sexual liaisons allegedly occurred from sometime in April through June in 2015.

At some points, according to the minor, he allegedly smoked marijuana and drank alcohol with Ms. Winters before and after daytime sessions at Crossroads, taking trips to Rehoboth Beach, eating out at TGI Fridays, Cracker Barrel and Applebees and the movies among other getaways described in court as an “Intensive Outpatient Program.”

Under questioning from defense attorney John Malik, the boy admitted to inconsistencies in past interviews compared to his Wednesday testimony, especially with dates and times of alleged events.

Interviews questioned

While the defense was especially focused on conflicting statements made during an interview at the Child Advocate Center in August 2015, the youth described himself to Deputy Attorney General Kathy Dickerson as “anxious and wound up” while it was “the first time doing anything like that” and “I wasn’t in the right mindset.”

The youth testified in the morning to allegedly removing the woman’s pants during a supposed encounter, and later described her as wearing a dress. There was also apparent indecision about the time of day of the first alleged encounter, which the youth testified occurred during the afternoon because he remembered admiring her dress.

Regarding a trip to the beach, the boy told the CAC a bottle of liquor was already in his counselor’s car when he entered, but he testified to watching her enter a liquor store on Wednesday after giving her money for the alleged purchase.

The youth testified that no sexual encounter occurred while twice at the beach, though he told the CAC they had relations at Crossroads after returning from the beach.

The youth said that he was not told what to say in court, but had spoken with police and the AG’s office after his interview with the CAC. He said he had left out details during the CAC interview, but didn’t know why.

The boy told his mother of the alleged relationship to “have someone on my side” and testified that the sexual relationship ended “because we got caught.” He answered “Oh yes” when asked if his mother had been supportive in the past.

The youth testified that he smoked marijuana and drank alcohol with Ms. Winters in a company van on the way to the facility on weekday mornings. Mr. Malik questioned why that the odor and smell of liquor and drugs was never detected by counselors at Crossroads, and the boy said a perfume spray was used to mask the drug’s pungent odor.

A bottle of alcohol and marijuana were regularly concealed in the Crossroads van, according to the juvenile.

The youth testified that he allegedly drank alcohol and had sex during two alleged visits to the defendant’s apartment, once for several hours while her husband was working at Crossroads as a counselor.

Also, the boy alleged, Ms. Winters altered a dirty drug test for marijuana into a clean finding that was to be presented to Family Court.

When discussing possible repercussions of their alleged actions, the juvenile claimed the duo decided first not to tell, and later spoke of establishing if needed that he was 16 and she hadn’t turned 30 to avoid harsher criminal charges.

Ordered to Crossroads

The youth arrived at Crossroads in April 2015 after a Family Court order regarding his marijuana use, according to testimony, and was transported and counseled by Ms. Winters during daytime sessions from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. He was previously part of another substance abuse program before being sent to Crossroads.

“Crossroads seemed like more freedom because the program I was in before was more strictly by the book,” he testified.

On a regular basis, according to the juvenile, Ms. Adams would pick him at his home between 4-5 p.m. after the daily session for outings.

He described their alleged relationship as casual at first, before the duo began communicating more frequently via texts that eventually became more personal.

“I felt like she was flirting with me so I started flirting back,” he testified, noting that emojis with kissie and smiley faces were included with the conversations.

According to the youth, his counselor allegedly advised him to delete all texts if the relationship was to continue.

After a 1 on 1 counseling session in her office, according to the minor, he allegedly shared a kiss with Ms. Winters in her Crossroads office as he became more comfortable with their personal connection. According to testimony, the counselor commented to the youth that “your breath stinks” at the time of the first alleged smooch.

The boy explained a hickie to his mother as the result of making out with a girl while in the Crossroads van, according to testimony.

The minor testified that the duo allegedly had sex for the first time just days before his 16th birthday in the back of a Crossroads passenger van parked at the Wal-Mart in Cheswold. As testimony continued, he described several more alleged encounters that supposedly involved both performing oral stimulation before sexual intercourse.

The boy testified that he was in love with his counselor for a time, and lied to authorities when first questioned about the alleged relationship to protect her. She allegedly conveyed that she and her husband were having trouble at the time, according to testimony.

Asked how he feels about Ms. Winters now, the youth, who is now working for a small company, testified, “It’s in the past. I try not to think about it much because I’ve (already) moved on with my life.”

Under cross examination by the defense, the youth admitted to twice denying the alleged affair when questioned by his mother and police, and Mr. Malik pointed to inconsistencies in his testimony and earlier statements.

The youth was on probation at the time due to a conviction, and his movements were monitored by probation and parole officers with a GPS.

While the youth described the layout of Ms. Winters’ Dover apartment, he also testified to following her on Instagram where inside photos of the residence were posted.

Immediately after confirming allegations against him and the counselor, the boy testified, his mother stated the need for a lawyer who would file a civil lawsuit against Ms. Winters and Crossroads. The attorney attended part of the testimony on Wednesday.

The prosecution plans to call at least one more witness before the defense makes its case. Judge Clark advised of his availability for next Monday and Tuesday.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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