Matthew Aimers walked into District Court on Thursday with his new wife at his side, the two hand in hand as he prepared to face charges of sexually assaulting a teenage waitress at his wedding reception in Bucks County last year.
Aimers, 31, has been charged with indecent assault, indecent exposure, imprisonment of a minor, harassment, and related offenses in the November incident at the Northampton Valley Country Club in Richboro. He also faces charges of simple assault, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest from a drunken encounter with police later that night.
Aimers’ attorney, Louis Busico, said Thursday that his client “denies and rejects” the accusations made by the woman, who is now 18, and said Aimers’ wife, Kayla, “150 percent supports him.”
“If he committed a crime, not even Dr. Phil could keep them together,” Busico said. “And the fact that they still are together shows that my client is an innocent man.”
District Judge William J. Benz held the case for trial on all charges. Aimers will be arraigned next month in Bucks County Court.
The basis for the judge’s decision was unclear, because in an unusual and possible improper move, Benz allowed the victim to testify in a courtroom cleared of all spectators, including reporters. He did so at the request of Assistant District Attorney Megan A. Hunsicker.
Hunsicker declined to comment after the hearing.
Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub later issued a statement calling the prosecutor’s request to empty the courtroom “an error of judgment” with good intentions of protecting the victim.
The Inquirer does not name victims of sexual assault without their permission, but routinely reports on their testimony in court and the allegations they report to law enforcement officials.
In this case, the waitress told police he approached her and “asked her to go outside and make out,” according to the affidavit of probable cause for his arrest. He told the teen the two of them could "do whatever you want,” the affidavit said. The waitress said she spurned his advances, but the encounter left her shaken.
Later, Aimers followed her into the women’s bathroom, where he pulled her into an empty stall, sexually assaulted her, and exposed himself, she told police.
Hours after the alleged assault, as the reception was winding down, Aimers became unruly and assaulted a member of the country club’s staff outside the venue, court records show. When officers arrived, police said, Aimers tried to goad one into a fight by calling him derogatory names.
In his statement on the case Thursday, Weintraub stressed that the prosecutor was moving to protect the victim.
“This request was an overreach on our part to accomplish the goal of protecting the victim’s identity, a goal we know the press shares in almost all instances," Weintraub said. "The transparency of the criminal process is paramount.”
After the judge ordered the courtroom cleared, two reporters formally objected to the judge’s decision and questioned whether excluding the public from the hearing was improper.
“I’m not in the habit of doing things that are improper," Benz replied, “so, no, I don’t think that it is.”