Saturday, March 13, 1999
Girl testifies about abuse
She says mom told her to be quiet while stepdad assaulted her
BY WALT SCHAEFER
The Cincinnati Enquirer
BATAVIA A 13-year-old girl testified on videotape Friday that she was sexually abused by her parents, relatives, neighbors and many acquaintances of her family.
The jury of nine men and three women in Clermont Count Common Pleas Court watched intently as the girl talked of her brothers being forced to hold her down while her stepfather abused her almost every day.
Her 9-year-old brother, who also testified on tape, said his father threatened to kill him if he did not help.
The girl said that when she screamed, her mother told her to be quiet and take it like a woman. She said her mother also helped hold her down and touched her sexually. The 34-year-old woman is the defen dant in the rape and felonious assault case.
The Cincinnati Enquirer is not naming Bethel woman to protect the identities of the children. The girl and her younger sister are under the care of psychiatrists.
The younger girl's father committed suicide in 1997 after being questioned about molesting his stepdaughter and daughter. The father of the older girl has been convicted of raping her and is in prison.
The week-old trial will resume Monday in the courtroom of Judge William Walker and is expected to continue through most of next week. Defense attorney Michael Kennedy said he expects to call some of the alleged perpetrators to testify.
The 13-year-old girl testified that she was forced to have sexual relations with a landlord about once a week. It's how we paid the rent, she said. She and her sister, now 7, were told to go to a neighbor's trailer, where the neighbor would choose one of them to abuse and pay the family in cigarettes and dope.
Under questioning from Clermont County Prosecutor Daniel Breyer, the girl said she once fled home for two days because of the abuse, but she returned because she was hungry and cold. The younger girl also was subjected to sexual abuse by her father, her sister testified.
The mother is charged with six counts of rape and four counts of felonious assault.
The defense is hoping to convince the jury that social workers and/or foster parents possibly unintentionally put ideas into the children's minds that led them to make up tales of abuse.
The charges, filed in 1997, stem from incidents in the early to mid-1990s and came to light through an investigation by county social service agencies and information the girls told the foster parents. The parents permitted sexual encounters with 22 other people, investigators allege.
Mr. Breyer said the rape charges involve both girls, while the felonious assault charges involve psychological suffering of the woman's four children, including her two sons.
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