Defense grills teen testifying against stepfather in sex abuse case

February 10, 1993|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

A 17-year-old who has alleged he was sexually abused by his stepfather had put his sister up to making similar allegations, the accused man's attorney said yesterday.

As the youth was on the stand testifying against his stepfather, Assistant Public Defender Samuel Truette zeroed in on the sister's allegations, which she later recanted.

"She said it never happened, isn't that right?" Mr. Truette yelled. "She said that because you put her up to it," he declared before the alleged victim could answer.

According to prosecutors, the man sexually abused the 17-year-old during a 19-month period ending last February. His jury trial in Carroll County Circuit Court began yesterday morning. The boy was the state's sole witness in the case.

Testimony about the alleged victim's sister -- and his mother's stay in jail -- wasn't supposed to be a part of this case, as both prosecutors and Mr. Truette had agreed during a January suppression hearing.

Troubled yesterday by the introduction of that testimony, Mr. Truette asked Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. to declare a mistrial. The judge did not rule on the request yesterday.

During cross-examination, Mr. Truette asked the alleged victim questions to establish that he was angry at his mother and stepfather for grounding him and forcing him to break up with a Delaware girlfriend.

The defense attorney told the jury in opening statements that the accusations stemmed from the alleged victim's anger.

To counter that argument, Assistant State's Attorney Christy McFall wanted to establish another reason for the accusations.

"Why did you not disclose [the accusations] earlier than last year?" the prosecutor asked.

"I didn't until after my sister told my mother and she didn't believe her," the youth said.

He said he told his mother of his allegations June 4 at 2 a.m. "when she came home from jail."

His mother spent several hours in the Carroll County Detention Center after the county's drug task force raided the couple's home the previous day and found six full-grown marijuana plants, several grocery bags filled with small plastic bags of marijuana, indoor growth lamps and several nude photographs of the couple.

In the fall, Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold ruled that all of the evidence seized during the June raid was inadmissible in the drug cases against the couple, including the nude photographs that were used to help establish a reason for conducting a raid last July 9 in the child-abuse case. But the fruits of that raid were not used in this trial.

Prosecutors have appealed Judge Arnold's ruling.

Neither Mr. Truette nor Ms. McFall would comment yesterday on the trial.

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