August 29, 2013

Spahr trial gets underway Wednesday

Herald Correspondent

OSKALOOSA — Bruce Spahr faced one of his two accusers Wednesday morning as the first day of testimony in State vs Spahr got underway. Attorneys in the case also presented their opening statements.

Spahr has been charged with four counts of second-degree sexual abuse. Second-degree sexual abuse is a Class B felony and is punishable by up to 25 years in prision on each count.

Assistant Attorney General Barry McCormally told jurors during his opening statement that the case comes down to a secret.

“Family secrets. The evidence you’re going to hear in this case; it’s about a family that had a secret,” McCormally said.

McCormally later went on to recount some of the alleged instances of abuse against the accusers in this case. McCormally would go on to give a brief forecast as to what jurors would hear from other witnesses from the state. McCormally also told jurors that he was confident it would be an easy decision for jurors in the end to convict Spahr.

Defense Attorney Ken Duker presented a different side of events than what prosecuting attorney McCormally did.

According to Duker, the accusers had “changed their stories” on different occasions. Duker said that he disagreed with McCormally on where the evidence would lead the jury. “I disagree with Mr. McCormally. I think this case isn’t an easy one.”

The prosecution presented their first witness after opening statements. The first witness was Accuser Number 1 in this case. It should be noted that the identities of the accusers are not being revealed to protect their identities pursuant to Iowa Court Rules.

According to Accuser Number 1, the alleged abuse occurred during the evening hours while she was in bed.

“I felt helpless, scared, sad. I didn’t know what to do at that point,” Accuser 1 said when she was asked how the abuse made her feel. The accuser testified in court that after the first instance of abuse, she left her room at went into the kitchen of her house and cried. According to the accuser, her mother came out to see why she was crying. It was at that point, according to Accuser Number 1, that she told her mother that Spahr had abused her. The accuser stated that after some more pressing, she changed her story and told her mother she had just had a nightmare.

“I felt trapped and responsible for my lie,” said the accuser. When asked by prosecuting attorney Barry McCormally what the truth was, accuser 1 said that “[the] truth was that he did touch me.”

After being questioned by McCormally for over an hour, Defense Attorney Ken Duker questioned the accuser. Duker focused primarily on the accuser’s courtroom testimony compared to a deposition given by the accuser in August of 2012. During the cross examination, Duker pointed the accuser to sections of her deposition in which she gave a timeline to when the alleged abuse occurred. Duker then questioned the accuser on her courtroom testimony saying that her courtroom testimony did not match up with her deposition testimony. Duker also focused on other possible perceived discrepancies in her courtroom testimony and her August disposition. After further cross examination, the accuser was released from the stand.

The second accuser in the case was expected to take the stand later on Wednesday. Watch the Herald tomorrow for a complete run down of events from the Bruce Spahr Trial.