Tennessee woman, 47, denies having sex with Grand Forks boy, 16
GRAND FORKS - Cynthia Kusy, now 47, never had sex of any kind with the 16-year-old boy she spent an April weekend with him last year in a Grand Forks motel after flying in from her Knoxville, Tenn., home, said her attorney in his opening statemen...
GRAND FORKS - Cynthia Kusy, now 47, never had sex of any kind with the 16-year-old boy she spent an April weekend with him last year in a Grand Forks motel after flying in from her Knoxville, Tenn., home, said her attorney in his opening statement Tuesday.
"Our position is sexual contact did not occur between the two parties," said David Ogren, Kusy's court-appointed attorney, and that "there are some serious issues with credibility," when it comes to the alleged victim, now 17.
Because he's described by his psychiatrist as being "very immature for his age," and vulnerable with a low IQ and anxiety problems, the Herald is not identifying him.
While on the stand, the young man, who is small and looks younger than 17, did not look toward Kusy.
She is charged with two counts of sexual assault for having sexual contact with a boy who was 16, and one count of luring a minor for sexual reasons over the Internet, all Class C felonies, each with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
He testified that Kusy came to Grand Forks last year after the two exchanged Internet chats for months, including plans to have sex. Kusy bought beer, he got drunk and they had sex "four, or three times," he said, in the Travelodge motel room on South Washington Street the weekend of April 14 to 17, 2011.
Eliciting his testimony proved difficult for Carmel Mattison, assistant state's attorney for Grand Forks County, as his answers were so quiet at times that state District Judge Debbie Kleven asked the court reporter to read them back for the jury and attorneys.
The young man acknowledged to Ogren during cross-examination that, at first he told Kusy in Internet chats that he was "18 or 20," but later told her he was 16.
According to prosecutors, the two discussed waiting until he was 18 before they had sex.
Kusy asked him to send her a photo of his penis, and he did, he testified.
She and her husband have a son, who was 13 last year, court documents say. In her application for a court-appointed attorney, Kusy said neither she nor her husband had jobs and their only income was $1,700 per month in "VA benefits," referring to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Court documents say the Internet chats began in November 2010 and became sexually explicit in the three months leading up to her two visits to Grand Forks in April 2011, including picking up the boy April 25 and taking him back to her Knoxville home by car.
Kusy does not face any North Dakota charges connected to that trip, but that's when the case against her began.
The boy's mother called police April 27, 2011, to report him missing, testified Grand Forks Police Officer Brandon Eberhardt, who then found 800 Internet messages from Kusy on the boy's computer. Knoxville authorities were notified and they retrieved the young man.
He testified that, during the road trip, he drank alcohol supplied by Kusy and smoked "K2," one of the names for a synthetic marijuana, and "spice," another name used for such synthetic drugs.
Heavy use of alcohol and drugs since he was 15 until last year have hurt his memory, the young man told Ogren.
Dr. Steven Hill, a psychiatrist who has treated the young man for several years, including Monday, testified that after the Tennessee trip his anxiety problems became markedly worse, to the point he could not attend high school.
Hill said the young man's accounts to him of sexual contact with Kusy seem credible.
Ogren told the jury of seven women and six men -- including one alternate -- that Kusy exchanged racy Internet chats with the boy but it isn't clear she knew how young he was.
The trial resumes this morning with the young man's mother and other relatives expected to testify.
The jury could get the case late in the day or early Thursday, Judge Kleven said.