Tony Cercy Trial: Alleged Victim’s Father Testifies
The father of the young woman allegedly sexually assaulted by Casper businessman Tony Cercy in June 2017 had no idea what happened until three days after the event, he said Wednesday.
But at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 28, his and his family's life changed dramatically, he said during the third day of the third-degree sexual assault trial at the Hot Springs County Court House.
He was at work at his business in Casper, catching up after returning from Belize on June 26, when his wife sent a text saying she heard from a person who was sorry about something terrible that happened that weekend.
He returned the message to his wife, called his daughter at her place of work, and called Thad White, who had a place at the lake that was a hub of activity and may have known what the "terrible thing" was, he said during questioning by Natrona County District Attorney Mike Blonigen.
In that call, he asked "what the hell happened to my daughter," but hung up when White said he didn't know anything. The father didn't mention "assault," "sexual assault," or "Tony Cercy," because he was still in the dark, he said.
He also called his daughter's boyfriend, more calls to her, and heard back from his wife who heard something about a possible sexual assault.
He went to his daughter's place of employment, asked to talk to her and she came outside 10 minutes later to tell her she had passed out at Cercy's house at the lake and woke up to him performing oral sex on her.
He testified that they cried together for a few minutes, and then he says, Cercy called her on her cell phone.
She put the phone on speaker and the father testified that Cercy said he wanted explain the events of the weekend, and the father said he told him never to call again and this would be settled another way.
After the family reported the incident to the Natrona County Sheriff's Office, Cercy was charged in July 2017 with one count each of first-degree sexual assault (rape), one count of second-degree sexual assault, and one count of third-degree sexual assault.
In February, a jury in Natrona County District Court acquitted him of the first two counts, but deadlocked on the third count. District Court Judge Daniel Forgey declared a mistrial.
In March, the woman asked and District Attorney Mike Blonigen agreed to again file the charge of third-degree sexual assault.
In June, Forgey granted the defense attorneys' request to move the trial to Hot Springs County because of the intense publicity before, during and after the first trial.
The new trial required that the whole case be presented again, including testimony from the alleged victim, her father and others.
Under cross examination from defense attorney Jeffrey Pagliuca, the father testified that a month after the incident, he hired the law firm of Chapman, Valdez and Lansing. The father said they had never been in a situation like this and wanted legal advice.
"We've never been in anything like this," he said. "It's pretty daunting."
Other witnesses questioned during the morning included people who went to Cercy's house that night, including Casper Police detective John Hatcher, friends of the alleged victim, and her former boyfriend.
Testimony continues this afternoon.