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Jury selection set to begin in NH church rape case

Jury selection set to begin in NH church rape case

May 16th, 2011 by LYNNE TUOHY, Associated Press in News

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The case of a New Hampshire teenager who prosecutors say was raped by a fellow church member and forced to stand before the congregation to apologize for getting pregnant is going to trial.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in the sexual assault trial of 52-year-old Ernest Willis of Gilford. He is charged with forcibly raping the 15-year-old twice in 1997 when she was his children's baby sitter.

Willis' lawyers say in court documents that he will admit having sex with the girl once but maintains it was consensual.

Their pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Concord arranged for the teen to live with a Colorado family and put her baby up for adoption.

Police couldn't find her and the case remained unsolved for nearly 13 years until Internet posts led them to her in Arizona.