Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Accuser: Grand Forks man slipped teen sleeping pills before sexual assault

The accuser in an eight-year-old sexual assault case against a Grand Forks man told jurors Wednesday she believes the defendant sneaked sleeping pills into her drink before he allegedly raped her when she was a young teenager.

George Lyons

The accuser in an eight-year-old sexual assault case against a Grand Forks man told jurors Wednesday she believes the defendant sneaked sleeping pills into her drink before he allegedly raped her when she was a young teenager.

But the defendant denied the allegations as he fought back tears during his testimony.

The now-adult woman testified in Grand Forks District Court against George Robert Lyons, 37, who is on trial after being charged in June on three Class AA felony counts of gross sexual imposition. He faces life in prison without parole if found guilty.

The charges came after the accuser said Lyons, who has pleaded not guilty, sexually assaulted her multiple times at her Grand Forks home between July 2009 and January 2010. She testified she needed her ears cleaned due to earwax buildup. Lyons suggested he should help her by using bobby pins, she testified.

The accuser said she had a fear of items being stuck into her ears, so she said Lyons suggested she take “adult-grade” sleeping pills to sedate her before he performed the “procedure” during the night.


This would happen once a week for several months, she testified, adding she would wake up to him sexually abusing her with his fingers. She said he once tried to have sex with her in January 2010 but when that failed he forced her to have oral sex.

On several times, including the night of the January incident, the accuser claimed Lyons would grind up sleeping pills and put it into her drink without her knowledge. She said she knew this because she would feel groggy or find a chalky substance at the bottom of her glass after drinking it.

Lyons denied the allegations when he testified Wednesday, saying the accuser’s mother made the decision to allow him to give the accuser medication. He recalled giving the girl melatonin, a supplement used to treat sleep problems, and cleaning the girl’s ears three to five times, adding the accuser, her mother and the accuser’s friend lied about the sexual abuse allegations while they testified.

“It didn't happen,” Lyons said.

The accuser testified she tried to tell several people, including her mother, about the incidents, but she said they didn’t believe her, and said she was dreaming.

Lyons said he wished he could come up with anything to corroborate his denial if there was evidence to refute the claims. He was the only person to testify for the defense -- at times his voice broke and his chin shook as he fought back tears.

The Herald typically does not identify accusers or victims in sexual assault cases unless they make their names public.

‘I just gave up hope’ Lyon’s defense attorney, Steven Mottinger noted the accuser resented Lyons for disciplining her. She later testified Lyons grounded her for long periods of times and put her on a “strict diet” of replacing food with baby food because she didn’t brush her teeth at times.


“I tried something out of left field, and it was a bad decision,” Lyons said of feeding the accuser baby food.

When asked why she didn’t cry for help from her mother while she was allegedly being assaulted, she said she didn’t think to because she was sedated.

“After I told her several times and she didn’t believe me, I think I kind of just gave up hope,” she said.

The prosecution tried to point out inconsistencies in Lyons’ memory, asking him why he didn’t sign a social services plan that would require him not to be alone with the accuser. He said he felt that would give the accuser power and make him look guilty.

The defense also questioned why one witness brought up information during the trial three times that was not mentioned to police, including that she had tried the accuser’s drink to see if it was drugged or if it tasted “chalky.” The witness said she couldn’t remember such information when interviewed by police.

Mottinger said Tuesday in his opening remarks that the jury is there to decide whether Lyons committed a crime and whether prosecutors can prove that beyond a reasonable doubt, not to send a message about sexual assault.

“This case is not about recent public uproar over sexual abuse,” Mottinger said. “It’s not about Harvey Weinstein. It’s not about women in black. It’s not about remarks Oprah Winfrey may or may have not made.”

Pending weather conditions, closing remarks could be presented Thursday with the jury heading into deliberation shortly after.


Lyons also faces a first-degree and second-degree criminal sexual conduct charges in Polk County, where he is accused of sexually abusing a person younger than 16 years old in 2014 in East Grand Forks. The charges that were filed in December 2015 appear to be unrelated to the case in Grand Forks.

A four-day trial in Polk County is set to begin May 9.

What To Read Next
Get Local