Prosecution Asks Court To Allow Video Testimony Of Child In Rape Case

By
Susan Tebben - Athens Messenger staff reporter

Dateline
Updated Sat, Apr 19, 2014 12:47 pm
Photo Credit: 
Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail
Jennifer Davidson, 37, of Albany, Ohio

This prosecution is still waiting to hear if a trial for an Albany woman accused of raping a 10-year-old girl will be delayed again on the defense’s request, but in the meantime, it has asked that the child be allowed to testify via closed circuit television.

On Wednesday, Athens County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Driscoll filed a motion in Common Pleas Court for an order “permitting the child victim to testify via closed circuit television against Jennifer Davidson, 37, who is charged with two counts or rape and one count of kidnapping.

This request, if granted, would allow the child to testify without having to be in the courtroom with Davidson, according to the motion.

“The child would suffer serious emotional trauma from testifying in (Davidson’s) presence, and this unnecessary re-traumatization can be alleviated by the (motion) procedures...,” Driscoll wrote.

A judge can order the testimony of an alleged child victim to be conducted outside the courtroom based on three conditions set forth in Ohio Revised Code: if the child refuses to testify, if the child has an “inability...to communicate about the alleged violation or offense because of extreme fear, failure of memory, or another similar reason,” or if there is a “substantial likelihood” that the alleged victim will suffer “serious emotional trauma” from testifying.

The motion comes after the prosecution argued against a defense motion to postpone the case due to a desire to analyze a cell phone connected to the case. An argument by the state also filed Wednesday said it doesn’t think the cell phone is the reason for the continuance.

“The state believes that (Davidson) is attempting to delay the trial to make the young victim less likely to be able to remember and testify regarding what (Davidson) did to her and the state respectfully requests the court deny her motion to continue,” Driscoll wrote in the separate court document.

Davidson already agreed to a waiver of her speedy trial right in a previous court hearing so that her counsel and the prosecution could prepare for a May trial.

Public defender Glenn Jones has not filed a response to the testimony motion, and Judge George McCarthy has yet to rule on the continuance.

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