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Two girls alleging that a Sitka couple sexually molested them for nearly 10 years at what the adults described as a "sex camp" on Bauer Island took the stand today in Juneau Superior Court.
Accused molesters may question girls on the stand (May 16, 2002)
Sitka sex abuse trial begins in Juneau (May 14, 2002)
The prosecution rested its case today, and the trial is expected to continue Monday with the defense's case.
Ketchikan Superior Court Judge Michael Thompson, who is presiding over the trial of Cynthia Sky, 40, and Dick Blue Sky, 48, ruled Wednesday that the couple could question the alleged victims. The Skys are acting partially as their own attorneys.
Cynthia Sky's attorney, Sidney Billingslea, and Dick Blue Sky's attorney, Darrell Gardner, told the judge they weren't adequately prepared to cross-examine witnesses because the Skys had not cooperated with them.
Today the defense didn't question the alleged victims who testified, R.T., 14, and J.T., 12, whose names are being withheld by the Empire. But the defense may question them later.
The Skys face 37 counts of felony first-degree sexual abuse of a minor. Blue Sky is charged with nine additional counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, one count of failure to register as a sex offender, and one count of misconduct involving weapons, all felonies.
The charges against the couple stem from alleged multiple acts of sex abuse against three girls, who ranged in age from 3 to 13 when the alleged abuse took place from 1994 to 2001. The Skys were arrested Feb. 15, 2001.
R.T. today recounted several instances when Dick Blue Sky allegedly molested her, beginning when she was 3, when as a friend of the family he would stay at her home.
R.T. said she was sent to Bauer Island, 50 miles north of Sitka, where the Skys lived in a makeshift camp with a large tent, a temporary cabin and storage shelter, in January 2001.
Her mother, L.R., whose name is being withheld by the Empire so as not to reveal the children's identities, testified today that R.T. was sent to the island because R.T. had been having discipline problems at school and at home. She said for several years the Skys had offered to homeschool R.T. and teach her discipline.
The alleged abuse was ongoing and continued on the island, according to R.T.'s testimony.
"I never told my mom," said R.T. "I never told anyone. It wasn't something I wanted anyone to know. ... I was scared. I was really scared of his hook and I thought no one would believe me."
Dick Blue Sky's right arm was amputated and he would wear a prosthetic arm with a hook on the end of it.
Part of the abuse, R.T. said, was a series of rewards and punishments devised by the Skys which included being able to "buy" her way out of a half-hour in a homemade stockade or a beating with a belt by performing various sex acts on Dick or Cynthia Sky.
Pictures entered into evidence today showed large black and blue marks around R.T.'s neck, presumably from her time in the stocks. R.T. alleged that part of the punishment in the stocks was that the Skys could "do whatever they wanted to me" sexually.
R.T.'s sister J.T. testified about her own alleged abuse, which she said began when she was 5. She recounted instances of Dick Blue Sky allegedly asking for oral sex while Cynthia Blue Sky would hold J.T.'s head and threaten her if she didn't do it; the couple using plastic to wrap her to a chair until her sister told them to let her go; being forced to watch the couple have sex together; and being asked to bring her friends to join the "club."
"They had this idea that they would have this club on the island," said J.T. "They wanted to have this island full of teenagers boys and girls, it didn't matter that would all have sex and they'd have porn on the walls, and they said if anyone ever came to the island they would just start tearing it down and stuff like that."
She said Cynthia Sky would perform a "depth test" on the girls with sexual devices. J.T. said, as an initiation into the "club." Other rights of passage, she alleged, included wearing their hair in pony tails, not wearing underwear and never telling anyone what happened on the island.
Melanie Plenda can be reached at email@example.com.