7-year-old testifies against father in sex-abuse trial

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

BENTON -- A 7-year-old testified Monday in Scott County Circuit Court she remembered her father tricking her into a sexual act when she was 2 years old.

"I'm talking about Travis, yucky stuff," the victim told the prosecutor.

Travis Sintell Turner, 34, of Cape Girardeau is on trial, facing three charges of felony statutory sodomy.

The victim's mother testified the molestation occurred in February 2011, when Turner was alone with two children in the 700 block of Second Street in Scott City while the victim's mother was at work.

The victim told her mother about the incident on June 30, 2012.

The next day, the mother and her boyfriend talked to the victim, who told them her father requested a sexual favor in exchange for a drink.

The victim told assistant public defender Amanda Altman the molestation happened only one time.

The defense focused on differences among various versions of the story, at one point going through a large portion of a deposition the victim gave in 2013, when she was 5 years old.

The victim had trouble remembering what she had said previously, although her autistic brother said things at the time that tended to corroborate her story.

In rebuttal testimony, prosecutor Tabatha Blakely asked the victim whether the molestation actually occurred, and the victim responded definitively, "Yes."

Altman and co-counsel Travis Bargeon also asked the mother about certain details, including what kind of drink the victim received at the end of the sexual act and whether the victim mentioned the type of drink in the original statement.

"I didn't think the specifics of the drink would matter," the mother said.

Bargeon also asked about where the alleged molestation took place, based on a statement from the victim it had happened in a previous home and thus put the event in a two-week time window.

"This all started as a single sentence uttered by a 2-year-old girl," Bargeon said in his opening statements. "This story has evolved."

The trial continues at 8:30 a.m. today.

Forensic interviewer Kathy Blevins will testify for the prosecution, and her video interview with the victim will be shown.

Julie Buck will testify for the defense as an expert on childhood memory, although she will not address the victim's statement directly.

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