- Associated Press - Friday, May 30, 2014

GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) - A former Delaware state Senate candidate charged with repeatedly molesting a boy more than 20 years ago confessed shortly before he was arrested, a church pastor told jurors Friday on the first day of the man’s trial.

After rumors of child molestation surfaced following Eric Bodenweiser’s victory in a 2012 GOP primary, Bodenweiser asked to meet with Duane Smith, pastor of Sussex County Bible Church, Smith said.

“He said, ‘I did it. There’s some there, there,’” Smith recalled of his October 2012 meeting with Bodenweiser.

Bodenweiser, 55, was indicted about two weeks later on more than 100 counts of child sexual abuse. A superseding indictment was later filed, and Bodenweiser is now being tried on 14 counts each of unlawful sexual intercourse and unlawful sexual contact. He could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.

Smith testified that Bodenweiser told him the boy, a neighbor, often showed up at his home. According to Smith, Bodenweiser said the boy, then about 14, once brought a copy of “Playboy” or a similar magazine with him, which led to Bodenweiser inviting him to watch a pornographic movie.

“He said at that time there was oral sex that took place,” Smith testified. “He said this occurred on three or four occasions.”

Defense attorney Joe Hurley repeatedly attacked Smith’s memory and interpretation of what Bodenweiser told him. Hurley suggested that Bodenweiser was referring to oral sex in the movie, not between Bodenweiser and the alleged victim.

“It’s not clear what exactly Eric is saying he did,” Hurley told jurors in his opening statement, acknowledging that Bodenweiser showed pornographic movies to the boy “four or five times.”

But Smith remained adamant that Bodenweiser admitted having sex with the boy.

“He indicated that they had …, in fact, engaged in oral sex,” he testified under questioning by the prosecution. Later, under cross-examination by Hurley, Smith maintained: “He said, ‘The boy touched me and there was oral sex.’”

Prosecutor David Hume told jurors that Bodenweiser made the boy his “sexual play toy,” forcing him to engage in oral sex, anal sex and masturbation.

After the alleged victim learned that Bodenweiser, with the support of tea party activists, had won the 2012 primary, “all the memories of abuse came flooding back,” prompting the man to come forward with his story, Hume said.

Rather than talking with police, however, the alleged victim first called a local talk radio host with the molestation allegations.

Hurley said the alleged victim, who will take the stand Monday, is “playing loose with the truth.” While Bodenweiser did show the boy pornographic movies, “everything after that is elaboration, this fantasyland story,” Hurley told jurors.

Smith, Bodenweiser’s pastor, said that after initially confessing his guilt, Bodenweiser tried to backtrack, categorically denying the allegations in a statement issued by Hurley in November 2012.

“I told Eric this was unacceptable,” said Smith, adding that he told Bodenweiser that if he did not retract the statement, the church would begin formal disciplinary proceedings that could lead to his ouster from the congregation.

Smith said Bodenweiser then proposed that he fight the charges in court, hopefully winning an acquittal, then confess to the church, an idea that Smith rejected.



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