Closing arguments are scheduled for 9 a.m. today in the trial of a 68-year-old Douglas County man accused of molesting a girl at a rural Lawrence day care in 2009.
Defense attorneys spent most of Thursday presenting witnesses and trying to refute testimony earlier in the trial about sexual abuse accusations a 4-year-old girl made and DNA evidence the state presented.
A child psychologist, who viewed the 2009 videotaped interview when the girl told an investigator about her allegations against the man, said he was concerned about the length of the one-hour interview for the child.
“It might lead to a tainted interview in that the child is maybe more looking for ‘what answer I should give so that I can finally get out of this interview,’” said defense witness Stanley Mintz.
But prosecutor Amy McGowan, a chief assistant district attorney, argued in cross-examination that the girl brought up the allegations instead of the investigator introducing them.
McGowan has said the defendant lived on the property in 2009 that was home to the Miles of Smiles Child Daycare Center southwest of Lawrence but that he was not responsible for caring for children there.
According to Kansas Department of Health and Environment records, the day care center closed in July 2010.
The Journal-World generally does not name suspects in sex crime cases unless they are convicted.
The man faces one count of aggravated criminal sodomy and aggravated indecent liberties with a child.
According to testimony, the girl told her mother the man molested her during nap time at the day care. The girl, who had started attending the day care earlier in the summer, was eventually examined at a hospital, and investigators began looking into the case.
The day care center’s owner, Gloria Windholz, testified Thursday afternoon for the defense and said she was in the room with the girl during the entire nap time on the day the allegations surfaced and didn’t see anything improper. The girl had started to outgrow her naps, Windholz said, so she had separated her from other children to avoid waking them up.
“I had to make sure to stay with her because she did not like it that the television was going to have to come off, and she was going to go to sleep,” Windholz said.
McGowan had rested the prosecution’s case earlier Thursday.
The state’s final witness, Alan Mattox, a biologist with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, testified Thursday morning that he could not exclude the defendant’s DNA taken from a sample on the girl’s underwear.
But defense attorney Branden Bell on cross-examination asked Mattox about past errors in the national database he used to build the DNA profile. Mattox had said past errors were corrected in the database and that those errors had nothing to do with the testing he performed in this case.
“If they’re going to use this as evidence, they should be able to tell the jury whether this information is correct or not,” Bell said during an argument over objections made to District Judge Sally Pokorny.