Defense Argues for Separate Trials in Sex Abuse Case

A DC Superior Court judge continued a motion hearing for a sex abuse defendant whose counsel is requesting two separate trials for the allegations against him.

The defendant is indicted on 16 counts. According to court documents, he is accused of sexually abusing one victim on four occasions and another victim on one occasion. The defendant is related to both victims.

In a motion filed last April, the defense asked the court to sever the counts of the indictment and order one trial for the 14 counts involving the first victim and another trial for the two counts involving the second victim.

In the motion, the defense argued that a single, joint trial would prejudice the defendant, in part because he would not be able to present distinct defenses.

During the Oct. 13 hearing, defense attorney Christen Philips said that one victim did not come forward until after another victim did.

The prosecution, however, said the victim did not disclose the alleged abuse sooner because she initially told a parent, but was allegedly ignored. They also said that one victim’s alleged abuse is broader than the other’s.

Judge Marisa Demeo said she would like more time to go over both parties’ arguments and continued the motion hearing to Nov. 12.

The defendant’s trial is set to begin in December, and parties said they anticipate being ready for it. The prosecution said they have about 35 witnesses. Most of them are law enforcement. Four of them are expert witnesses and four or five are civilian witnesses.

The charges against the defendant include: first-degree sexual abuse, attempted first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree child sex abuse, attempted first-degree child sex abuse, second-degree child sex abuse, attempted second-degree child sex abuse and kidnapping.