WILLISTON, N. D. — A teenager testified Monday, Oct. 29, that he had three sexual encounters with a former Williston police officer when the boy was 16.
The teenager began testifying Monday, the first day of the trial of Bryton Dahl, a former Williston police officer accused of corruption or solicitation of a minor. Dahl was charged in August 2017.
The teenager, who is now 18, explained that he met Dahl by using the dating app Tinder. He said he was 14 when the two met, but that he had put his age as 18 on the app.
He said he was using Tinder because he was lonely and wanted to meet someone.
The teenager told the jury that his relationship with Dahl moved from Tinder to messaging app Snapchat and to text messaging.
The two talked for several months before meeting in person, and continued to talk for several more months before the relationship became physical, the teen said.
He told Sandy Jones, assistant state’s attorney for Williams County, that he didn’t remember when he told Dahl his real age, but that he usually told people within a day or two of first chatting with them online. Prosecutors say the boy was 16 and Dahl was 22 at the time of the sexual relationship.
The teen said the pair had three sexual encounters in January and February 2017 in Dahl’s townhouse in Williston. He said Dahl pursued him for more encounters, including where the teen worked and at Williston High School, where Dahl sometimes worked as a substitute teacher.
Court adjourned Monday before the teen’s testimony was finished and he is scheduled to be on the stand again on Tuesday.
In his opening statement, Kevin Chapman, one of Dahl’s defense attorneys, said the teenager was lying and that Dahl never had a sexual relationship with the teen.
He said that during the trial, which is scheduled to last until Friday, the jury would hear that although the teen said Dahl had sent him explicit pictures and that the two had sexual encounters, the teen couldn’t describe Dahl’s genitals and law enforcement didn’t find any explicit photos of Dahl on the teen’s phone.
“The evidence will show (the photo) didn’t exist and that this alleged sexual relationship did not exist,” Chapman told the jury.
He claimed that the teen had made up the relationship.
“The evidence will show this was all a game by (the teenager),” Chapman said. “It was all drama he was creating that Mr. Dahl got caught up in.”
The trial is set to resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday.