Helwig and Torello didn’t sit with her mother. All the other seats in the area where her mom was sitting might have been taken, but Helwig wasn’t sure about that.
That day, a Sunday, Helwig drove to pick up her date, then took him to the hotel, where they met up with Helwig’s mom. They rented rooms, then Helwig drove to the fairgrounds.
Helwig said neither she nor Torello drank anything before the show. “He had one glass of champagne during the first act. I had one glass of champagne during intermission.”
Torello bought a blue aluminum water bottle for his date as a souvenir. Helwig said she drank only water from the “very nice, expensive water bottle.”
During the first half of the show, they were holding hands and kissing. “A little. Closed-mouth kissing.” She said it was not all kissing on the mouth. “A lot of it was on the forehead and the cheek.” It wasn’t “excessive.”
At intermission, Torello went to the bar area and bought three glasses of champagne. It made Helwig “nervous,” because her mom might be “disappointed or uncomfortable.” Helwig is sensitive to drinking. “Both of my parents were alcoholics.” She didn’t tell Torello this because “Well, it was a date.” He didn’t need to know about her “family issues.” She wanted everybody to “have a good time.”
Helwig said, “I asked him if I could have one of the glasses of champagne, and he agreed. I didn’t feel comfortable with him having three, so I figured I would take one of them.”
Torello wanted to continue drinking in the bar area, but Helwig led him away to a bench. “He was concerned about how long it was going to take before the bar shut down.” Helwig was afraid that Torello wanted to buy another drink, and she meant to distract his attention.
Helwig sat on a bench. Torello stood facing her. “I had my arm around his waist, trying to keep him facing me.” She grabbed his belt buckle and his pockets. “Well, he had jeans on, so there were pockets where you could insert your hand. I inserted my fingers, not my entire hand.” Helwig denied that she’d put her hands inside his pants or that anyone was staring at them.
But two witnesses claimed that Helwig “stuck her hands down the front of his pants.”
Torello said something about getting another drink, maybe a shot, but the couple soon wandered off in another direction, away from the bar. “I mean, we weren’t there for any longer than a minute-and-a-half to two minutes.” She insisted that they did not leave the area because people were staring at them. “No, I left when the bar was closed. That’s why I left.” They had a smoke, then went back inside to see the second half of the how.
The seats were close together
“There was shoulder-bumping,” Helwig said, “and, you know, in a lot of circumstances, like at the theater, you’re kind of wrestling for the armrests. You don’t get your own separate one. Gerry had his arm around me, and the seats we were in were very close quarters. So we’re touching shoulders.” They did also touch the man seated next to them. “And he turns over and sarcastically says, ‘Are you guys enjoying the show?’”
This man later said, “I noticed his hand was going under her shirt.”
Helwig said that Torello’s hand was never on her breast. “He was just rubbing my stomach.” Why did he do that? “He was trying to comfort me because I had been having stomach issues. I had been feeling sick for the last two days.” When she told Torello this, “he actually went and bought me some Pepto-Bismol and some over-the-counter medication before we went to the show.”
Helwig denied that Torello was kissing her while rubbing her stomach to comfort her. “We stopped kissing after the first ten minutes of the show.” She also said, “I wasn’t feeling very well, and he was attempting to comfort me and kiss me, and I was just repeatedly telling him to stop, and no, and to cut it out.” Helwig didn’t want Torello to be affectionate during the show.
Then she saw a woman seated in her row “staring at me prolonged.” It made Helwig uncomfortable. “I could not figure out why she seemed, like, so intent on staring in my direction. Then she blurted out, you know, ‘Get a room.’”
An attorney asked Helwig, “Why do you think she said to get a room?”
“I figured [it was] because she felt our kissing was inappropriate.”
Helwig said she told the woman, “I wish I could just leave,” to which the woman replied, “‘I can make that happen.’ At that point in time, I had not been facing her, and I turned to face her, and I said, ‘Excuse me?’ And she said, ‘You heard me.’ In an aggressive tone.” The woman’s demeanor was also “aggressive.”
“It made me feel uncomfortable. I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve had to go back and forth with a stranger, and, honestly, I didn’t even know what to say to something like that.”
Helwig returned her attention to Torello. “I didn’t want to ruin our date. So I told him, ‘No, it’s not you. I’m just not feeling very well.’ And he put his arm around me, and I put my elbow on his lap, and I rested my head on my hand.”
Her head in his lap?
A prosecutor wanted to know if Helwig’s head was in Torello’s lap.
“Define ‘lap area,’” was Helwig’s quick retort. “In his lap? On his lap? My head was in my hand, my elbow was resting in his lap. That’s my testimony.”
Helwig demonstrated her position for the jury. “What happened is I had my elbow on his lap, and my head was resting on my hand in this fashion — like this. And I had my other hand on the armrest.”
Helwig was charged with lewd acts in public, a serious criminal charge which could require her, if convicted, to register as a sex offender.