Teen's sexual abuse case goes to jury

Alleged victim told jury that she didn't want to describe what Ellis did

Posted: Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Jurors were scheduled to begin deliberating a teenager's sexual assault case today after hearing the alleged victim say she didn't want to describe the "bad thing" the defendant did to her.

Scott Ellis was 17 in February when he was charged with first-degree sexual abuse of a minor and ordered to be tried as an adult because of the severity of the charge.

Ellis is accused of having sex with the girl in the spring of 2002. The Empire is withholding the girl's name and her relationship to the defendant.

Ellis did not testify in his own defense. Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks told the jurors after the trial concluded late Tuesday afternoon not to consider that fact as evidence against Ellis.

Jurors elected to go home and begin deliberations this morning.

In his closing, defense attorney David Mallet pointed to conflicts in the prosecution testimony.

The girl's videotaped discussion of the allegations against Ellis, which jurors watched after her testimony, "does not hold water," Mallet said, "whether it's fantasy, whether it's lying, whether it's to please her mother."

He suggested the girl's story was inspired by her grandmother, because the grandmother's daughter, the alleged victim's mother, had been molested as a child.

On Tuesday, the alleged victim, now 7, came into court and testified from a table across the courtroom from the jury. She was too small to testify from the witness stand next to Weeks.

When Assistant District Attorney Rick Svobodny asked if Ellis had done anything to her, she answered "a bad thing." Several times he asked her to say what the bad thing was, and she said firmly that she couldn't. But she said she was truthful when she told people about it.

Later, with social worker Michelle Monts testifying, Svobodny showed the tape of Monts' interview with the girl from December.

On the tape, the girl told Monts, too, that she didn't want to talk about it. But after her mother came in the room briefly to tell her she could talk about it to Monts, the girl described Ellis forcing sex on her, using the term "private parts" and saying she told him no.

She said it hurt and listed men she knew and liked better because they didn't do those things to her.

She said that when she next saw Ellis, he asked her, "Did you miss it?"

"They're the kind of words that somebody controlling somebody sexually might say," Svobodny said while summarizing the case for the jury. He also asked how a girl of her age would have come up with those words on her own.

• Tony Carroll can be reached at tony.carroll@juneauempire.com.

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