Interview in child rape case reviewed

A Douglas County judge will review the video interview that the wife of a man suspected of sexually assaulting two girls gave to police to determine whether it can be used as evidence.

The woman, 33, faces a September trial on charges of endangering a child and felony lewd and lascivious behavior. Her husband, 33, is accused of raping two girls, now 9 and 10, during the past two years at their home in north-central Lawrence.

The woman’s attorney, Napoleon Crews, is asking District Court Judge Peggy Kittel not to allow her June interview with police to be used during her Sept. 29 trial.

During arguments in court Friday afternoon Crews said his client never said yes to waiving her Miranda rights. He said instead she asked officers if her husband waived his rights and began speaking to police.

When she was told that he had, Crews said she began to talk “because she didn’t know what else to do.”

“I don’t believe that could be construed as knowledge or a voluntary waiver,” Crews said.

But prosecutor Amy McGowan, a chief assistant Douglas County district attorney, said the woman’s reasoning behind why she waived her rights was not important.

“She made her own decision to talk to police officers, and she did it willingly,” McGowan said. “There wasn’t any coercion there.”

Kittel said she would review the parts of the video interview in question and make a decision later.

The woman’s husband faces a January trial on eight counts, including three child rape charges. He tried to plead guilty to all counts as charged Tuesday, but Kittel did not accept the pleas because the defense refused to go into more details about the case.

Lawrence police have said the parents of the girls reported to officers that the girls said the man had raped both of them repeatedly during the past two years.

The Journal-World generally does not identify suspects of sex crimes unless they are convicted.