COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - Dramatic testimony from a teenage girl who sat on the stand for hours, recalling where, when and how many times she claims to have had a sexual relationship with her band director back in 2009.
The girl, who was 15 at the time, says the relationship she had with then 51-year-old Robert Hamberg started off as flirting. She says it became more intimate with secret meetings and sexual contact nearly every day in a locked lady's dressing room at Gulf Coast High School.
The girl told the jury she went to Hamberg's home four times, the last of which included an attempt at sex. She says she fell in love with Hamberg and claims he stated the same to her; and when she turned 18 he would divorce his wife so they could marry.
The teen says students started to spread rumors, however it may be when one teacher intercepted a note between the victim and another student, that the alleged relationship came to light. According to the State, the letter spoke of a sexual relationship between the victim and an unsaid teacher. The victim told the jury she then became concerned about the note being discovered and told Hamberg. According to Renee White, the teacher who found the note, Hamberg approached her and said "I guess I should stop making out with your students." It was a statement White thought Hamberg said jokingly, but she did not take it as such.
Also on the stand, orchestra teacher Tara Buonamici, who recalls a time in May 2009 when she unlocked the lady's dressing room to use the bathroom and says she found something that disturbed her. The teacher claims when she entered the victim jumped back and Hamberg quickly turned on the lights. Buonamici says the incident was so suspicious to her that she was unable to use the bathroom; however, she waited and weighed the incident in her mind before going to the principal.
The teen says she lied when first questioned about the relationship because she loved Hamberg and didn't want him to get in trouble.
Hamberg's attorney highlighted to the jury the teen's broken home, lending the idea a turbulent home life left the girl seeking attention. They claim she made up the unwanted relationship, was possibly even pressured into a story by school officials and detectives. Hamberg's attorney questioned the story when the girl couldn't remember dates of sexual contact. He also mentioned to the jury that no person, whether teacher or student, witnessed any touching or inappropriate relationship between Hamberg and the victim.
The trial will continue Wednesday with more witnesses from the State before being handed over to the defense.