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Damson sex assault trial set


Havre Daily News/Jake Shane

Joseph E. "Jed" Damson leaves the courtroom Monday after his scheduling conference at the Hill County Courthouse.

An Americal Legion official and former Havre businessman accused of raping a 15-year-old girl with developmental disabilities is scheduled to go to trial Sept. 28.

Joseph E. "Jed" Damson, born in 1948, of Havre, was charged Sept. 12 with one count of sexual intercourse without consent and one count of sexual assault.

District Judge Daniel Boucher set the trial date Monday during a scheduling conference in state District Court in Havre.

According to court documents, the investigation that led to the charges began Aug. 1, 2014, when Havre police received a report of possible sexual abuse of a child.

Two people who work at a store in the Atrium Shopping Mall reported the 15-year-old daughter of one of the people was sexually assaulted by Damson, who at the time operated a store in the Atrium.

The girl, whose mother said she processes information on the level of a 5-year-old, told her mother that "Grandpa Jed" became angry with her when she told him he could no longer do the "boyfriend classes" with her, the court document says.

The girl reportedly told her mother that Damson was teaching her how to be a good girlfriend and wife by giving her "boyfriend classes" when they would go for walks to an emergency exit in the mall.

The alleged victim told a forensic interviewer the "classes" included kissing her on the lips with "grandpa kisses" and touching her through and inside her clothes, including penetration, the documents say.

The girl said the first time the actions happened was July 20, 2014 and the last time was July 31, 2014.


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