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Alleged sex abuse victim: Martin MacNeill thought she was his dead wife

Published July 2, 2014 2:32 pm

Court • Ex-doctor accused of putting hands down pants of a female relative.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Provo • After Martin MacNeill put his hands down her pants, the woman testified on Wednesday, the former doctor told her he was sorry — he had thought she was his recently deceased wife.

The soft-spoken woman testified during Martin MacNeill's sex abuse trial that she was at the MacNeill home on May 23, 2007 — just over a month after Michele MacNeill had died. She was cleaning out the deceased woman's closet, while Martin MacNeill watched television on a couch in his master bedroom.

When she grew tired, Martin MacNeill told her she should sleep on the master bed, and he would sleep on the couch.

She fell asleep, she testified, fully clothed.

At some point during the night, she awoke suddenly.

"I could feel [MacNeill's] hand rubbing my buttocks," she testified. "He had one of my hands, my left hand, and he was, um, licking it and kissing it."

The woman, who is a relative of Martin MacNeill's, testified that the encounter lasted only seconds before she got up and slapped his hand away.

"I just said, 'What are you doing? He just said, 'Oh, oh I'm sorry, I'm sorry,' " she said. "He said, I thought you were [Michele.]"

The woman said that after the encounter, she left the room and spent the rest of the night in one of MacNeill's daughter's room. She felt "disgusted," she said.

"I was very concerned," she said. "There were a lot of things going on in the home that I was concerned about. This was just another horrible thing I had to worry about now."

The woman — who the Salt Lake Tribune is not identifying because she is an alleged sexual assault victim — was the only witness called to testify during the first day of Martin MacNeill's trial.

The 58-year-old man is charged in 4th District Court with second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse, and could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

The trial is scheduled to resume Thursday morning with cross-examination of the woman.

Deputy Utah County Attorney David Sturgill told the jury during opening statements that much of their case rests on the alleged victim's testimony. Defense attorney Randall Spencer asked the jury to evaluate her credibility.

"You will see that there is a real possibility that [the alleged victim] is not being entirely truthful," he told the jury.

The former doctor is already facing life in prison, having been convicted by a jury on Nov. 9 of murder and obstructing justice in Michele MacNeill's April 2007 death. However, he has yet to be sentenced in the murder case.

In the murder case, 4th District Judge Derek Pullan is mulling over Martin MacNeill's motion for a re-trial. In the motion, defense attorney Spencer, argues that a federal inmate lied on the stand about a possible early release he received in exchange for his testimony, and that prosecutors did not disclose that a deal was in the works. Pullan said earlier this week he will need about 60 days to look over the evidence before ruling.

The federal inmate testified during Martin MacNeill's four-week trial that the defendant confessed to him that he drugged his 50-year-old wife, then drowned her in a bathtub at their Pleasant Grove home on April 11, 2007.

Prosecutors said Martin MacNeill killed his wife so he could continue an affair with another woman, Gypsy Willis.

jmiller@sltrib.com