A Colorado Springs woman choked up Monday while recalling how a former police officer bought her son new running shoes for track and once drove to their home to deliver his school books.
What first moved her as generosity took on dark new dimensions when her son stepped forward with a startling claim: That Joshua Carrier, 31, had tried to stimulate the boy into having a sexual climax.
“He blames himself so much for letting this happen to him,” she said through sobs after relaying her initial impressions that Carrier, who resigned amid a spiraling investigation in June 2011, was a “great guy.”
The boy’s allegations took center stage at Carrier’s molestation trial Monday as attorneys squared off to define him in the eyes of the jury.
While a prosecutor gently drew testimony portraying him as a soft-spoken 15-year-old reeling from sexual abuse by a trusted adult, an attorney for Carrier picked at discrepancies in his account and emphasized his family’s links to a $9.4 million dollar civil settlement pending before the courts.
Carrier faces the potential of life in prison on charges of molesting 22 boys at Mann Middle School, where he volunteered as a wrestling coach.
While most of Carrier’s accusers describe touching similar to that of a doctor, Monday’s witness is among a small group of boys who accuse Carrier of overtly sexual acts – putting them squarely in the spotlight at trial.
The boy’s mother testified that Carrier befriended him after his father was laid off at work and forced to move out of state for a new job.
Besides buying him running shoes and delivering school books, Carrier also played the role of trusted adult, she said — so much so that when the boy had questions about bumps on his genitals, he went to Carrier for help.
That’s when the officer allegedly stroked and blew on his penis until he became aroused and encouraged him to ejaculate, the boy testified Monday, keeping his eyes cast downward toward the stand and avoiding eye contact.
The defense confronted the boy and his mother over their motives, from the multimillion dollar civil action to an episode shortly before Carrier’s May 2011 arrest in which the boy was suspended for taking Carrier’s phone and key card.
The defense, which gently questioned two earlier accusers, took an aggressive approach in pushing the boy to explain his multiple suspensions from school — and why he didn’t report the disputed stroking earlier.
“You thought he was doing his job?” attorney Christopher Decker asked skeptically.
Decker also questioned changing details in the boy’s accounts, implying they were the result of fabrications, not trauma.
The boy’s mother told the jury that her son told her about two other instances of touching by Carrier after his arrest but left out the part about getting an erection in his office out of embarrassment.
The $9.4 million settlement agreement – which isn’t yet official – will go to “more than a dozen families” to pay for counseling, she said.
Wiping away tears, she described what she initially took as acts of kindness from a potential role model.
“I thought, ‘What a great guy,’” she said, her chin quavering.
Testimony in the trial resumes at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.