Day two in trial of Fort Myers man accused of sexually assaulting a maid

Published: Updated:
(Broward Sheriff’s Office)

A trial of a Fort Myers man accused of sexually assaulting a maid he hired continues into day two Wednesday.

David Ralston, 71, is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting his accuser, a maid he hired from Craigslist, at his home on Gleneagle Court in Fort Myers back in 2016.

Lee County Sheriff’s Office detectives say they obtained surveillance video of the alleged assault from the home of Ralston, who was a professor in the Department of Management & International Business at the College of Business at Florida International University.

MORE: FIU professor arrested in Fort Myers sex assault case

Fredrick Lawerence, a former Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputy, met with the victim two days after she said she was assaulted and obtained the warrant to search Ralston’s house. Noted in the search was a lot of vodka in the residence.

Marsha Sutphin, an LCSO deputy, said she found no physical evidence that Ralston drugged the victim, but the video suggests she is under the influence of a substance.

The video was shown to the jury in open court. In it, Ralston is seen giving her a massage on his patio before the two go inside. About 45 minutes later, the woman walks back onto the patio and Ralston joins her.

According to Lee County Deputies, home security video captured the accuser falling on Ralston’s patio table and then shows him fondling her while she’s apparently heavily disoriented.

A year after the arrest, Ralston’s accuser died in a motorcycle accident off of Summerlin Road and Boy Scout Drive.

Ralston’s attorney, Shannon McFee, previously asked for, “A disclosure of his accused victim’s toxicology report.” According to Ralston’s lawyer, the toxicology can exonerate him.

McFee believes the toxicology report can prove the woman was a regular drug user, and that Ralston never gave her any drugs.

But at the end of the video, Thresher is clear what happened to her.

“He did not only fondle me and rape me,” Thresher said. “He took his clothes off, he sat on top of me.”

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