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Alleged victim testifies in child sexual abuse trial

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MALONE - Charles T. Jefferson Jr.’s alleged victim took the witness stand on Wednesday in Franklin County Court and testified that he sexually abused her frequently from November 2009 until the end of December or early January of this year.

His attorney, Edward Narrow of Syracuse, said during opening statements that Jefferson will take the stand in his own defense.

Jefferson is on trial for 43 counts, including 21 charges of felony first-degree sexual abuse, 21 misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child and a felony first-degree criminal contempt charge.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Glenn MacNeill said during his opening statement the trial is “an old-fashioned case without DNA evidence and CSI stuff. “Use your common sense,” he said. “I ask you to apply that to this case.”

She said the first incidents happened when her mother lived in Brushton and the rest happened when the family moved to Malone. She was eight years old when she said the abuse began. She added Jefferson would come into her bedroom and talk to her using a stuffed rabbit, but the talk would escalate to threats. She also testified that this sometimes happened while Jefferson’s daughter was in bed next to her.

As she told her story, she became very tense and fidgety, often taking long pauses before answering questions asking for details of abuse.

“It felt wrong,” she replied after being asked by Mr. MacNeill how she felt while Jefferson abused her.

The alleged victim testified that she reported the abuse to her mother on two occasions, but she could not recall when. Her mother, she testified, asked her both times if she wanted her to talk to Jefferson or report it to police. She testified both times she wanted her mother to talk to him, but the abuse continued. It wasn’t until she reported the abuse to her grandparents that the police became involved, the alleged victim testified.

“I told her (grandmother) he was touching me,” she testified.

Mr. Narrow engaged in a defense that sought to find inconsistencies in her story. Prior to his opening statement, he made a motion to have three counts each of first-degree criminal contempt and endangering the welfare of a child dropped. County Court Judge Robert G. Main Jr. allowed the action.

“[The alleged victim] had indicated ... after lunch that the alleged conduct in this matter commenced in November 2009,” Mr. MacNeill told the court following Mr. Narrow’s motion.

The day’s proceedings were halted slightly early by Judge Main. The alleged victim testified that she received medical attention in Burlington, Vt., following the abuse being reported to police, but attorneys on both sides were under the impression that she was not examined. The reason the judge declared recess was to discuss in chambers how to handle the situation, because if she was checked, prosecution is required to turn the documentation over to defense council.

Mr. Narrow had suggested in his opening statement the manner of abuse over the amount of time she alleged victim said it happened would have caused significant injury, but she was never checked.

Mr. Narrow additionally pointed out that her testimony on Wednesday contradicted her testimony given to a grand jury.

“It (abuse) started a month after your birthday, like maybe in August?” Mr. Narrow read from the transcript of her grand jury testimony.

“Yes,” the alleged victim replied in the grand jury transcript, read by Mr. Narrow. He went on to point out that she testified Wednesday that Jefferson abused her beginning in November 2009.

The trial resumes at 9:15 a.m. today in Franklin County Court.

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