Child abuse charges against a man accused of having sex with his 5-year-old daughter were placed on the inactive docket Monday after a Circuit Court judge barred a social worker from testifying at the trial.
The child, now 6, had made a statement to the social worker disclosing the alleged abuse. Judge Dennis Sweeney ruled that the statement could not be admitted into evidence because of questions about the disclosure.
Assistant State's Attorney Walter Closson attempted to have the social worker testify as to the child's statement, under a state law allowing hearsay testimony in child abuse cases.
Because of Judge Sweeney's ruling, Mr. Closson moved to have the case placed on the inactive docket for a year. Without the social worker's testimony, Mr. Closson said, he couldn't prosecute the case.
The case will be dropped after a year, provided the defendant faces no new criminal charges.
The defendant, whose name is being withheld to protect his daughter's identify, has agreed to continue with family counseling.
In making his ruling, Judge Sweeney found the child's statement to the social worker to be vague and said the child may have had motives to make such an accusation against her father.
However, he stressed to the defendant that his ruling blocking the statement doesn't mean he is convinced the incident never took place. The defendant was charged in February with having sex with his daughter on Dec. 18, 1991.
The child reportedly related the incident to a social worker Dec. 23. According to police, the defendant told the child not to mention the incident or he wouldn't buy her anymore presents.