9-year-old in sexual abuse case says she doesn't remember anything

Prosecution continues its case this afternoon

Trish Mehaffey
Published: March 11 2014 | 11:18 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:27 am in

A prosecutor told a jury Tuesday they would hear “unspeakable acts” against on a 3-year-old girl that continued until she was 5, but this story is also about "strength and human spirit" because she survived and is a "happy and healthy" girl today.

“She doesn’t remember what happened and hopefully never will,” First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks said in his opening statement.

Maybanks told the jurors the child can’t tell them what happened on the stand today, but they will see a videotaped interview of her when she was 6-years-old and she remembered then that James Anthony Olds told her to keep a "secret" as he repeatedly sexually abused her.

Olds, 45, is charged with second-degree sexual abuse, exploitation of a minor, lascivious acts with a child, indecent contact with a child, lascivious conduct with a minor, false imprisonment and indecent exposure. He is accused of sexually abusing and exploiting a girl from 2008 to 2010, when she was 3 to 5 years of age.

The trial is expected to last all week. The prosecution continues its case this afternoon.

Maybanks told the jurors graphic details of what the girl told a Child Protection Center forensic interviewer about the abuse in 2011.

John Jacobsen, Olds’ attorney, said in his opening that the charges are based on a “consistent, inconsistent story.” The girl told a story one day to her mother and the mother never asked her more questions or questioned Olds about the claims.

“The story was never challenged or questioned,” Jacobsen said.

Jacobsen said the forensic interviewer asked her open-ended questions, but if the answers didn’t fit the story she continued to ask it in a different way. The interviewer also was getting questions from law enforcement, who are on the other side of a glass window during the interview, to ask the child.

The girl doesn’t understand what sex is and talks about related things that don’t involve Olds, Jacobsen said. She said Olds kissed her on her head, like her father.

Jacobsen said the girl then has new allegations about Olds in a second interview. Those allegations are made after Olds sees her mother. The mother claims she didn’t talk to the girl about Olds or the abuse but the girl said during an interview that they are moving after Olds gets out of jail.

The girl, now 9, was the first witness but as Maybanks told the jury, she didn’t remember anything about the alleged abuse or what she said during the interview. She was soft spoken but didn’t seem to hesitate or be confused by the questions.

Sixth Judicial District Marsha Beckelman asked the third-grader before her testimony if she knew the difference between the truth and a lie, and she explained the difference and said she would tell the truth.

The girl was asked about the details of what she said told the Child Protection Center interviewer by both attorneys but she didn’t remember anything.

The girl said she didn’t remember much about Olds. She thought they watched television together.

Jacobsen on cross examination asked the girl if her mother told her to say those things to the interviewer.

“No,” the girl said.

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