Victim testifies in Bulerski trial

BULERSKI

BULERSKI

MANISTEE COUNTY —Trial began on Wednesday for a Copemish man, following several sexual assault charges involving a female minor.

Gregory Bulerski, 43, is charged in Manistee County’s 19th Circuit Court with two felony counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct and one felony count of second degree criminal sexual conduct.

During the trial on Wednesday, several witnesses were called upon. It is the policy of this news organization not to publish the names of sexual abuse or rape victims and minors involved with a case, to protect their identities during the investigation and court proceedings.

Prosecutor Jonathan Hauswirth called the 15-year-old victim to the stand. She reviewed the details of the alleged incident that took place in Bulerski’s vehicle on Jan. 15.

The victim said she and her friend, a 17-year-old who is related to the defendant, were babysitting his child at her house. Bulerski, who consumed alcohol prior to the incident, returned to the home around 2 a.m.

He asked both girls to enter his vehicle to drive to the Wesco gas station in Parkdale.

She said the three switched drivers several times along the way. When the group reached the gas station, she said Bulerski returned to the vehicle with alcohol.

On the way back to the victim’s house, she said Bulerski first made contact with her by touching the inner thigh, when she was driving. Hauswirth asked how many times he completed the act at the time.

“He was in the front passenger’s seat and he rubbed my inner thigh,” she said. “It happened about five or six times… nothing else happened (at the time).”

When they arrived at the victim’s house, Bulerski then asked the 17-year-old girl to drive him to a relative’s house in Copemish. Both the victim and 16 year old girl entered the car, and each person took turns driving.

While the 17-year-old girl was driving, the victim said Bulerski asked her to sit on his lap in the front passenger seat. During the trip to Copemish, she said the defendant touched her vaginal region completing digital penetration.

Both the victim and Bulerski were under the influence of alcohol at the time.

“He kept touching my inner thigh; he touched my vagina beneath my clothes,” she said. “(That night) Greg and I were drinking, and he poured it in a cup for me. He offered it to me.”

At one point during the drive, the victim said she and Bulerski were in the far back seat of the vehicle together, when he asked her to remove her clothes. Moments later, she said Bulerski penetrated her vaginal region with his genitalia.

“He told me to climb over the seat (into the back end off the vehicle) and take of my clothes,” she said.

However, at first she refused.

“Then he threw me over the seat,” she said. “He picked me up and lifted me over the seat. Then he took off my pants… I told him to stop.”

The victim made a final statement about the incident.

“I was feeling afraid, because I thought he was supposed to be there for me,” she said. “I was upset because I did not think it would happen to me.”

After arriving to Copemish, the 17-year-old girl and her family member took the victim to Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital to complete a sexual assault forensic exam with Dr. Jennifer Reinink, a pediatric doctor at the hospital.

Reinink previously gave a testimony at the preliminary exam on June 1, which described details on the victim’s condition at the time.

The defendant’s attorney, Michael Smith, asked Reinink about the victim’s condition on Jan. 15, during the exam.

“There was redness in the vaginal region,” she said. “Not necessarily an abrasion that can cause redness; an abrasion is a break in the skin.”

The victim’s friend, the 17-year-old female, also took the stand on Wednesday. Her testimony was similar to the preliminary exam on June 1.

Smith asked the witness why she did not call the police at any point in time during the drive to Copemish.

“We could not have called the police,” she said. “Every time we tried to look at our phones, he would look over at our phones and ask us what we are doing.”

Deputy Jacob Bielski, who worked with the Manistee County Sheriff’s Office at the time, completed the investigation after responding to the call on Jan. 15. Bielski is expected to testify in court today, along with other witnesses who may be called to the stand.

The trial will commence again today at 9 a.m. at the Manistee County Courthouse. The trial is scheduled through Friday.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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