Oskaloosa.com

August 30, 2013

More people testify in Spahr trial

By CHARLIE COMFORT
Herald Correspondent

OSKALOOSA — More testimony was received in the trial of Bruce Spahr late Wednesday and Thursday in Mahaska County District Court.

Spahr faces four counts of second-degree sexual abuse.

“I was in an abusive situation.” That was the reason Accuser Number 2 gave Prosecuting Attorney Laura Roan when she was asked why she moved out of her house in 2011 to live with another family member.

When asked by Roan to elaborate further on the “abusive situation,” Accuser Number 2 said, “He [Spahr] was sexually abusing me and physically abusing me.”

Roan would go on to ask Accuser Number 2 when the alleged abuse began; however, Accuser Number 2 was not able to give Roan a definitive answer. After saying the alleged abuse began in either third or fourth grade, the accuser said, “I can’t remember.”

Roan also asked Accuser Number 2 whether or not she had told her mom about the alleged abuse occurring. When the accuser said no, Roan asked why she had not said anything.

“Because it’s embarrassing,” the accuser said. She would also go on to say “I just wanted my mom to be happy.”

The accuser would later be asked by Roan how the accuser and her sister were getting along with their mom since they had talked about the alleged abuse. Accuser 2 said: “Mom’s still mad about it. She’s been mad about it.”

Defense Attorney Ken Duker hammered on Accuser Number 2 about what he saw as perceived discrepancies with the accuser’s August 2012 disposition and her trial testimony Wednesday. The focus of the cross examination led to a tense exchange between the accuser and Duker. During this portion of the cross examination, Duker posed a question to Accuser Number 2 that dealt with whether or not Accuser Number 2 recalled if her sister had been present at the time of any of the alleged abuse. Accuser 2 responded quickly saying, “I don’t know. It’s not like I stare at her bed all night long.”

After Duker reiterated the question, Accuser 2, appearing to be frustrated at this point, responded saying, “I don’t know. You’re asking me to remember a specific detail about something really long ago.”

In response to an additional question from Duker, Accuser 2 acknowledged that she had difficulties remembering what Duker had asked her about.

After Accuser Number 2’s testimony, Deputy Sheriff Don DeKock was called to testify for the prosecution.

DeKock would go on to recount how he had been approached at school by Accuser Number 1, who reported to him that she had been abused. DeKock stated that pursuant to Iowa Law, the DHS was contacted. DeKock also stated that he and a DHS employee visited the home and visited with the mother of the accusers regarding the allegations.

When DeKock was asked what the mother’s reaction to the allegations was, he said that the mother did not appear to be supportive of the accusers.

“Right from the start, I could question her supportiveness of either one of [the accusers],” De Kock said.

DeKock stated that after the accusers were examined at St. Lukes and interviewed by the Mahaska County Attorney, both the accusers were placed into foster care. DeKock stated that this decision came because “there was a concern for the safety of the [accusers].”

Thursday morning, the prosecution rested their case giving the defense a chance to present their case. The defense began the morning testimony by playing two DVDs for the jury. The contents of the DVDs were interviews with the accusers at the St. Lukes center shortly after they came forward regarding the alleged abuse.

The defense also called Christine Spahr, the mother of the two accusers. Spahr testified about her relationship with the accusers.

The final witness of the morning was Bruce Spahr. Spahr came some brief preliminary testimony before the court broke for lunch.