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Trial

Trial

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Trial in child assault begins

By CRAIG KAPITAN

Eagle Staff Writer

Testimony began Tuesday in the trial of a Bryan man accused of molesting his 9-year-old daughter.

If convicted, the 34-year-old man faces up to 99 years or life in prison for the aggravated sexual assault charge. It is the policy of The Bryan-College Station Eagle not to name a defendant in a sex assault case if that would identify the alleged victim.

“He put it on me,” the third-grader told attorneys as a jury watched via closed circuit television. “He asked me if it felt good, and I told him a story and said ‘yes’ because I thought he was going to whup me.”

If she told anyone, the girl testified, her father said he would kick her out of the house and put her in boot camp.

The girl eventually spoke about the alleged assault with a Child Protective Services worker, who also testified Monday. The girl was taken to the worker after she came down with a fever in school and was afraid to go home, her school nurse testified.

The assaults would occur, the girl said, when her father called her into his room. Then if someone knocked on his bedroom door, she said, “He’d have to hurry and pull my pants up. Then he’d pretend he was combing my hair.”

During opening statements, defense attorneys David Barron and Marvin Martin asked jurors to keep an open mind during emotional testimony and to look carefully for inconsistencies.

Also testifying for the state Monday were two of the girl’s sisters, one of whom said she was afraid her father would hurt her for what she was saying.

Jane Riley, a nurse at Scotty’s House who examined the 9-year-old last May, testified that the alleged victim also showed fear. “I asked her who she was afraid of and she said ‘Daddy,’” Riley said.

The girl’s foster mother as well as Nick Canto, a forensic interviewer who spoke with the girl at Scotty’s House, also testified on behalf of the state.

The defendant’s attorneys have not yet had an opportunity to call their own witnesses.

Prosecutors Margaret Lalk and Peter Keim are also pursuing a charge of indecency with a child, which carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison.

“The girl is in the center of the swirling storm of chaos in this family,” Keim said during opening statements while outlining the child’s family tree.

The girl has eight siblings who were living in multiple households before the alleged assault. Since then, the group has been even more split up. Her mother is currently in jail.

The trial is expected to resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the 85th District Courtroom.

• Craig Kapitan’s e-mail address is ckapitan@theeagle.com.

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