Jury Trial Begins in Child Molestation Case
LAWRENCE COUNTY - AUGUST 23, 2022 - The jury trial has begun in Lawrence County Superior Court I of Joshua Stevens, Bedford, who was charged with five counts of child molestation of a family member.
The charges are Level - I Felonies or Class A Felonies based on the Indiana Statue at the time the crimes was alleged to have happened.
Lawrence County Superior Court I Judge John Plummer III presiding over the trial.
The jury of ten men and three women was selected with one juror serving as an alternate. The jury was given instructions on what is required of the State of Indiana to prove their case and convict Stevens of the charges.
The victim told investigators at the time that the abuse began when she was five years of age and lasted until about eleven years of age.
The victim eventually told a family member of the abuse. The family member contacted authorities of the alleged abuse and investigation began.
Stevens was not in the courtroom Tuesday afternoon, and the jury was instructed not to hold that against him for not being present.
Opening statement for the prosecution were presented by Deputy Prosecutor Lisa Kempf outlining the State of Indiana's case on how the victim was sexually abused over the period of six years.
Kempf stating the victim's family moved in and out of several homes over a long period of time, and at some point, the family was homeless, living in a tent.
The victim is expected to testify in the case, telling jurors what happened during the period of six years.
The child's mother worked a lot when the alleged abuse took place. This allowed Stevens to be alone with the victim on several occasions.
Steven's Defense Attorney Bruce Andis in his opening statement, told jurors that there is no physical evidence to prove that any sexual abuse occurred. Andis told jurors there are no physiological issues reported of the child. Andis telling the jurors there is more to this and the victim was just wanting to be able to stay in a stable home.
Bedford Police Department Officer Derek Blackwell, who was originally assigned the case as a detective described Stevens as cooperative on the first interview. However, when attempting to contact Stevens for follow up questioning he blocked the detectives phone calls.
The victim was interviewed and examined at Suzie's Place in Bloomington.
Mellissa Brown, Suzie Place, Forensic Interviewer, testified on Tuesday afternoon on how the victim was interviewed and stated that children who are abused act and react in different ways.
On cross examination of Defense Attorney Bruce Andis; Brown testified that the victim did not show any kinds of emotion during the interview, such as crying or any other emotional expressions.
Danielle Benedek, Nurse Practioner, who examined the victim at Suzie's Place testified the physical exam of the victim showed no indications of sexual abuse.
Benedek testifying that the lack of physical evidence is normal in 70 percent of these types of cases.
On cross examination Andis asked about the victims phycological well-being. The medical report indicated there were no signs of depression, anxiety, insomnia, or other notable changes in the victim's mental health according to Benedek.
The trial will resume at 8:30 a.m. with the State of Indiana continuing to call witness to testify.