Alleged teen victims testify as Volpi rape trial begins

Jun. 23 — JEFFERSON – Testimony within the rape trial for 65-year-old Thomas L. Volpi of Ashtabula started Wednesday within the courtroom of Ashtabula County Frequent Pleas Decide Thomas Harris.

Volpi was arrested Aug. 14, 2019 after a grand jury issued a 39-count indictment, charging he furnished alcohol and raped and sexually assaulted two teenaged ladies, in keeping with the indictment.

Throughout opening statements, Assistant Prosecutor Daybreak Cantalamessa instructed a dizzying story of the outstanding native enterprise proprietor giving underage ladies alcohol and interesting in sexual exercise with them on July 5-6, 2019 at his house and enterprise. The ladies had been 15 and 17 on the time.

“This entire night time was as a result of Mr. Volpi could not preserve his arms off these minors,” she mentioned. “He impaired their judgment with alcohol … he is a man who could not take ‘no’ for a solution.”

Volpi’s legal professional, Mark DeVan of Cleveland, admitted to his consumer “did some issues they should not have performed,” however the teenagers weren’t compelled to do something and their actions will present they weren’t victims.

“[The 15-year-old] was a keen participant in a three-way intercourse act, “he mentioned.” They by no means complained or resisted. They had been keen to have intercourse. “

As their first witness, the prosecution known as the then-15-year-old, who’s now 18. She took the stand and gave a really emotional testimony, crying all through the prosecutor’s questioning.

She mentioned it began out as a scorching summer time day when her household wished to go swimming at Volpi’s house in Ashtabula. All of them loved a pool and scorching tub. Volpi served alcoholic drinks and inspired the underage ladies to drink up “so it would not be wasted,” she mentioned.

Underneath the guise of getting dry towels, Volpi received the lady alone in the home, she mentioned.

“He proceeded to inform me I had a very nice physique,” she mentioned. “They have been excited about doing these items for some time, because the first time they laid eyes on me.”

Volpi then touched her inappropriately and made sexual feedback, she mentioned. He additionally took her hand and positioned it on his non-public elements. She mentioned she did not say or do something as a result of she did not need to make him indignant.

Cantalamessa identified the dimensions distinction within the two – the petite 15-year-old lady and a tall, massive, then-62-year-old man.

Volpi knew the teenager was solely 15 as a result of they requested her to drive to get extra alcohol as a result of she was too drunk, the teenager testified. About that point, Tiara Babbitt, 22, arrived on the get together, she mentioned. Babbitt drove Volpi and the teenager to his retailer to get cash, she mentioned. By this time, the teenager had consumed 4 or 5 bottles of a flavored alcoholic drink, she mentioned. She would drink eight or 9 earlier than the night time was over, she mentioned.

As soon as at his retailer, Volpi and the teenager went inside to his workplace, the place he pushed her right into a chair, carried out intercourse acts on her and compelled her to carry out sexual acts on him, she mentioned.

“I mentioned, ‘no,’ a number of occasions however he mentioned it was OK, it might be our secret,” she mentioned. “They then went out to ask Tiara [Babbitt] one thing. “

Volpi requested Babbitt to return to the shop and he put the teenager on the counter, she testified.

“He has a tiara to do issues to me,” she mentioned. “He tells Tiara to do issues and afterwards they’ll pay her.”

Volpi watched the women after which tried to hitch in however “she was too drunk and the counter was too excessive,” she mentioned. “I used to be there however like I wasn’t there. I used to be afraid if I attempted to run, one thing would occur to me.”

After they completed, the teenager mentioned she Volpi give Babbitt cash.

“He mentioned if I proceed to be good, he would give me cash, as effectively,” she mentioned.

Police later charged Babbitt with illegal sexual conduct with a minor. She pleaded responsible to tried obstruction of justice in a plea negotiation with prosecutors. She was sentenced to 2 years probation and agreed to get counseling.

As soon as again at Volpi’s home that night time, the threesome went into Volpi’s bed room and had intercourse till they heard the teenager’s 17-year-old good friend within the hallway, the teenager mentioned. They received dressed and went to the pool, the place she confided in her 17-year-old good friend about what occurred, however requested her to maintain it quiet as a result of she felt humiliated, she mentioned.

The teenager’s youthful sister known as and requested Volpi’s daughter, if they may spend the night time, and he or she agreed, the teenager mentioned. When it received actually late, she received Volpi assigned bedrooms to his in a single day visitors and put the 15- and 17-year-old ladies in his bed room.

As soon as the doorways had been shut, they inappropriately touched the 17-year-old whereas the 15-year-old pretended to be asleep, she mentioned. Whereas Volpi was molesting her good friend, she mentioned she grabbed her good friend’s cellphone from the night time stand and texted her brother, who was within the different bed room. He got here within the room, noticed the 17-year-old had no pants on, and mentioned, “You realize she’s 17,” and closed the door, she mentioned.

The ladies pretended they needed to go to the lavatory and known as Volpi’s daughter, the 15-year-old mentioned. They instructed her that he “did issues” to them, she mentioned.

“She came to visit screaming and yelling at him,” the 15-year-old mentioned. “Tom mentioned, ‘You don’t need me to go to the jail.’ He was begging her. He was panicked. He promised he would take me to get my stomach button pierced if I did not inform anybody. “

Volpi’s daughter drove the teenagers to the Ashtabula Police Division, the place officers questioned them and despatched them to a hospital in Cantalamessa mentioned.

Through the cross-examination, DeVan requested the teenager why she did not name for assist earlier or why she did not simply go away. He identified that Volpi by no means restrained her. They confirmed the courtroom surveillance video taken inside and outside Volpi’s enterprise, and the teenager was smiling in them. She mentioned she did not know what else to do.

DeVan introduced transcripts of the teenager’s earlier account of what occurred, noting she instructed the 17-year-old she most likely would have stored quiet as a result of Volpi mentioned she’d give her something she wished. However her good friend pushed her to inform somebody, to go to the police.

After practically 4 hours on the witness stand, the teenager stepped down and the prosecution known as the 17-year-old, who’s now 20, to the stand. She supported her good friend’s testimony, stressing how Volpi pushed the women to drink.

She mentioned when the threesome returned from the shop, the 15-year-old instructed her what occurred.

“I felt dangerous and I did not need her to undergo that once more,” she mentioned. “I am near her and I wished to guard her.”

As soon as they received into Volpi’s mattress that night time, the 17-year-old positioned herself by Volpi, who began stroking her leg and eradicating her underwear, she mentioned.

“I used to be scared and I did not actually transfer,” she mentioned, including he was beginning performing a sexual act on her. “I mentioned, ‘Cease,’ three or 4 occasions. I used to be scared and I did not need to anger him.”

Through the cross-examination, DeVan requested her why she instructed investigators that when Volpi eliminated her shorts that it “wasn’t an enormous deal.” She mentioned he is an older man and he or she did not know what he is able to doing.

“You did not name for assist with cell telephones and all of the land strains in the home,” DeVan mentioned. “You made no try to flee.”

The trial resumes at 8:30 am right now.

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