Sex abuse trial under way

Posted: Tuesday, February 05, 2002

A Juneau jury on Monday afternoon began hearing the details of the alleged sexual abuse of a 6-year-old girl.

Richard Warren, 23, of Haines, is charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, a felony, and two counts of a lesser felony, sexual abuse of a minor, stemming from four alleged incidents in 2000.

Warren's attorney, Philip Pallenberg, told the jury Monday in Juneau Superior Court that there was reason to believe the mother of the little girl invented the story. He also said testimony would show no physical connection between Warren and the alleged abuse.

But Assistant District Attorney David Brower said that on four occasions Warren molested his 6-year-old second cousin, including assaulting her with a spoon.

Brower said that in 2000 the girl was in the care of a family friend during the week while her mother and father worked. The girl's parents did not allow Warren in the house, but the family friend did, the girl's mother said in court Monday.

The girl's mother testified that her daughter told a family friend about the abuse June 1, 2001, at which time the mother confronted Warren. The mother said she and three other family members picked up Warren in town and took him into the woods by the Chilkat River to question him.

At first, she said, Warren swore at her and got out of the vehicle. Her husband, who also was in the vehicle, got out with Warren and began punching and slapping him, the mother said. The mother said Warren told her he was sorry and was trying to turn around his life.

Warren was arrested on the charges June 4.

Pallenberg said Warren's alleged comments were not an admission of guilt, but the result of being taken to a secluded spot in the woods by a rushing river and beaten.

The trial continued today and is expected to conclude Wednesday.

Melanie Plenda can be reached at mplenda@juneauempire.com.



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