Testimony underway in Brookline man’s trial on child sexual assault charges


Senior Staff Writer

NASHUA – Whenever her children host sleepovers at their Brookline home, Johnathon Purcell’s wife of nine years said Wednesday, they know they must abide by certain rules.

“The rule is, (the guests) must stay in their room,” Purcell’s wife told a Superior Court jury, referring to her children’s bedrooms. “It’s our rule.”

Sleepovers were one of several topics broached Wednesday by attorney Timothy Goulden, one of two lawyers representing Johnathon Purcell at his trial on four felony sexual assault charges, which stem from allegations he molested a 12-year-old girl around Christmastime 2016.

With Purcell’s wife’s testimony, Goulden sought to contradict the alleged victim’s account of the events, which she said took place on or near a couch on the first floor of the residence.

Purcell, 33, of 33 Hobart Hill Road, faces two counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault – victim under age 13, one a special felony and the other a Class A felony, and two counts of felonious sexual assault – victim under age 13, both Class B felonies.

The charges accuse him of inappropriately touching and molesting the then-12-year-old girl, and forcing her to touch him, between Dec. 22, 2016 and Jan. 3, 2017.

A Hillsborough County grand jury indicted Purcell on the charges in November 2017.

Judge Jacalyn Colburn, who is presiding over the trial, dismissed the jury early Wednesday, asking them to return for an 8:30 a.m. start today. The court estimates a three-day trial.

Earlier on Wednesday, Goulden questioned the alleged victim, now 14, about the series of events that prompted police to file the charges against Purcell.