Love & Hip Hop New York cast member Mendeecees Harris' arrest for drug trafficking spread like wildfire on the Internets yesterday, but he still has a s-xual assault trial to deal with. The trial actually began yesterday and today's testimony from the victim is damning.
Harris is accused of molesting a then 15-year-old girl in his Lodi, New Jersey home back in 2009. At the trial today, the now 19-year-old woman testified that Harris "coerced" her into having s-xual relations with him.
The Cliff View Pilot reports:
Speaking in a barely audible whisper, her voice sometimes breaking, the now-19-year-old woman told jurors in Hackensack that the former “Love & Hip Hop” star went from being a “father figure” she could trust to someone who forced her into sex for money after she moved into his Lodi home in the summer of 2009.
It left her feeling guilty and ashamed, she said during more than an hour of testimony.
Under questioning from Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Demetra Maurice, the young woman, who quit nursing school to testify in the trial, gave graphic details of the inappropriate encounters she allegedly had with Harris.
Visibly uncomfortable, she gave brief responses to Maurice's questions. Because she didn't have much of a connection with her mother, she said, she confided in Harris.
“Mendeecees made me feel comfortable. He would give me advice. He'd say ‘It'll be okay between you and your mom',” the woman said.
Then came an afternoon when, with no one else home, she realized in the shower that she didn't have a towel.
“I asked him to get me one, and he did,” the woman testified. “Then he came into my room and suggested I let him masturbate on me, but I just laughed.”
The suggestions continued, she said, until she relented. She said Harris then gave her $15 or $20 “for lunch or maybe a ball game.”
But that wasn't enough for him, the woman testified: Using an extremely private piece of information, he coerced her into providing oral s-x.
“He told me he knew I had been r@ped when I was 8 years old,” she said, “and he found out from my mother.
“‘Your mom doesn't want you here',” the woman said Harris told her before exposing himself.
She said she complied with his desire out of spite “to get back at my mom.”
“I felt betrayed by her,” she said. “I didn't tell her about it until I was 14, and it was something I didn't want anyone to know.”
Similar favors were demanded – and provided — for “$15 or $20” when she needed money for expenses, the woman testified. Eventually Harris enlisted her younger brothers by suggesting, when they asked him for money, to “talk to your sister. She knows what she has to do.”
The relationship ended, she said, when her mother took her cellphone to punish her for missing curfew and found a message on it from Harris.
If any of this is true, Harris was living incredibly foul. As expected, Harris' defense attorney Brian Neary claimed during opening arguments that the victim basically made the entire story up to avoid getting sent to live with her father down south. Neary will cross examine the teen tomorrow.
Harris was offered a plea deal last month that would have led to a five year jail sentence. He refused, hence the trial. If convicted of the seven counts of illegal s-x (child abuse) with the girl, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
Harris was free on bail but now is reportedly being transported between the county jail and Bergen County Court to attend the trial after surrendering to authorities last week because of the drug trafficking charges he is facing in Rochester. Harris will be arraigned in Rochester after the trial in Hackensack, NJ comes to a conclusion.
Those lawyer fees are going to be hefty. Check out some flicks from the court room in the gallery.
Photos: Mary K. Miraglia/CliffViewPilot.com