ELLSWORTH – With his four accusers sitting in the front row of the courtroom gallery Thursday afternoon, Travis White denied he has ever sexually molested or assaulted anyone.
More than 50 people sat in the courtroom as White, 31, testified Thursday afternoon in his trial on multiple sexual charges in Hancock County Superior Court.
The three men who say White sexually assaulted them in the 1990s and the boy who said he was sexually molested by White last year either stared at the floor or looked intently at the ex-coach from Bucksport as he said he never performed oral sex on them or touched their genitals.
“I’ve never put my mouth on anyone’s penis,” White said under direct examination by his attorney, Don Brown of Bangor. As Brown mentioned each accuser by name and listed each accusation, White said he never had any sexual contact with any of them.
“No, I did not,” White said.
White coached many different teams in Bucksport from the early 1990s until last year and is a former school board member and substitute teacher at Bucksport High School.
One of White’s accusers, a 22-year-old Vermont resident who claims White sexually assaulted him multiple times when he lived in Bucksport in the 1990s, wept silently as White denied his allegations. White’s mother, Bucksport resident Janeen White, wept on the opposite side of the courtroom as her son spoke.
After White’s 21/2 hours of testimony Thursday afternoon, Brown rested his case. Presiding Justice Thomas Delahanty subsequently sent the jury home for the day with instructions that they return to court at 9 a.m. today.
The jury of eight women and six men, including two alternates, is expected to hear closing arguments from the attorneys and jury instructions from the judge this morning before going into deliberations.
After court ended Thursday, White wept as he hugged his father and mother in the back of the courtroom.
Approximately 40 people who support the alleged victims sat next to and behind the three men and the boy, occasionally patting them on the back during White’s testimony. Eight of White’s family members and friends sat on the other side of the courtroom behind the defense table.
Under cross-examination by Hancock County District Attorney Michael Povich, White said he had an alcohol problem for many years and has “come to terms with it” since the allegations against him were reported to police last year.
“I drank a lot,” White told Povich. “When I was student teaching, I was drinking heavily, even when I was grading papers. It was sad.”
White denied that his alcohol consumption may have clouded his perception of events as they occurred. He said he would remember if he had sexual contact with anyone.
“I know what was going on around me,” White said.
White admitted that he provided alcohol to boys who played on the various athletic teams he coached, including his accusers. He said he gave alcohol to boys as young as 13 years old who would visit him at his parents’ home or at his house, but that he never provided alcohol to boys who were 12 years old or younger.
White said he could not recall how much alcohol each of his accusers had on the occasions when they visited his home. He said he did not know how much alcohol it took to get the boys drunk, but said he often had several drinks when he consumed alcohol.
“I drank four or five glasses and didn’t think nothing of it,” White said.
He said he was surprised to hear from the Vermont man last year when he called White about his allegations.
“He said, ‘Travis, you molested me.’ I honestly was shocked,” White said.
White told Povich he did not remember telling the father of one of the boys on his basketball team that one of the allegations could be true.
The father, whose son consumed alcohol at White’s house last year, but has not claimed he was sexually molested or assaulted by White, told jurors Tuesday that White said during a phone conversation last year that if the 15-year-old Bucksport boy said he molested him, it must be true.
“I did not say that,” White said.
During testimony Thursday morning, White’s father, mother and sister each testified about when they lived in or were present in the home of White’s parents on Bucks Mills Road. Brian and Janeen White, the accused man’s parents, each said they went to the Bahamas in January 1991 and to Las Vegas in 1993 and 1995.
Under cross-examination Wednesday by Brown, each of the three accusers said they could not be certain of exactly when the alleged incidents occurred.
On Thursday, under cross-examination by Povich, Janeen White said she was not sure of the exact dates when she and her husband went to Las Vegas in 1995. She was fairly confident they went in January of that year, she said.
Brian White also testified Thursday that the Vermont man, who last August filed a civil suit seeking unspecified monetary damages from White, had a reputation in Bucksport for being dishonest.