The trial of a Dublin area man accused of continuously sexually assaulting two children under the age of 14 continued in the 266th Judicial District Court Tuesday.
Day two of the trial began as attorney Alan Nash, who was appointed by the court to represent Kevin James Butz, 37, questioned one of the alleged victims in the case, Hannah, 15.
Hannah is the pseudonym assigned to the minor victim who testified that Butz sexually abused her for a period of about one year, beginning when she was 10 or 11 years old. Hannah also alleges that Butz victimized her younger brother.
Nash's defense relies heavily on several inconsistencies in Hannah's account of the year of abuse, and is working to establish reasonable doubt by pointing a finger at the children's mother and grandmother, who he said created the stories of abuse and coached the children to recount the tales.
Nash questioned several allegations made by Hannah through reports to Child Protective Services and a long list of medical professionals and licensed counselors. While under oath, Hannah admitted that while she once believed that the allegations were true, she now knows that they are false.
Among the false statements was a forced encounter involving explicit activities with as many as eight men. Hannah once told a child advocate that the incidents involving the men were forced by Butz and occurred as regularly as every other weekend.
"I thought it happened," Hannah said, adding that she later realized it had not.
Under questioning, Hannah said she was only "sometimes" honest with psychologists and counselors.
Hannah also said after CPS had placed her in a foster home following the allegations against Butz, she and her brothers were allowed supervised visits with their mother and grandmother, but the family was not allowed to talk privately.
Hannah said she only recalled a sexual relationship between her and her brother after a significant amount of time. Nash's cross examination revealed that when she reported the incident to a counselor, Hannah initially said the sexual encounter between the siblings occurred prior to being placed in the Butz home by CPS. But Hannah said eventually, through counseling, she was able to remember that it was actually Butz who forced the contact. She also said that speaking about the encounter with her brother helped her to better remember the timeline of events.
Hannah said after the initial allegation was made and the entire ordeal began to be revealed, she felt good about the fact that people were listening to her story and paying attention.
She also said that prior to making a report of the alleged abuse with the Erath County Sheriff's Office, she and her mother discussed the things that Butz had done to her.
"Your mom helped you remember, didn't she?" Nash asked. "She worked with you on the correct words and actions to make sure you understood (what had happened) before you talked to police."
Hannah said, "Yes," and affirmed that she was "relieved" that she would finally get to live with her mom.
Other inconsistencies revealed by Nash's examination of the victim were claims of pregnancy and being touched by the boyfriend of a family member.
But Hannah said her mother and grandmother didn't ask her to say anything false or untrue.
Nash also questioned a list that Hannah read from in court. She said that representatives of District Attorney Jason Cashon made a list of all the statements she had made during the investigation and directed her to check the statements that were true and draw an "x" by the statements that were false. Nash pointed out that the statement about the eight men had both signs. Hannah agreed that Cashon "helped" her "learn that the statement was not true."
Hannah's younger brother, who was assigned the pseudonym "W.T" was the next state's witness to take the stand, but due to the age of the alleged victim, 11, and the nature of his testimony, all spectators were cleared from the courtroom during the boy's testimony.
The state alleges that W.T was sodomized by Butz and was also forced to watch her sister's sexual abuse.
Following the closed testimony, Dr. Jamie Coffman, director of Cook Children's CARE (Child Advocacy Resource and Evaluation) Team, took the stand.
Coffman said Hannah was evaluated by the team, and the evaluation included a head-to-toe physical, a genital exam and talking with the victim to understand the allegations she was making.
Coffman said no trauma was noted during the exam, but also said there was no such thing as a "virginity test." She said since it had been a year since the sexual contact had occurred, it was not unusual that signs of trauma did not exist since such wounds heal quickly.
"Only about five percent of these exams return findings indicative of penetration," Coffman said.
With no physical signs of sexual abuse, Nash asked if Coffman's conclusions of abuse were based on Hannah's recollection of events. Coffman said "Yes."
Coffman said that during the genital exam, a fiber was obtained that was sent to a crime lab for analysis.
Another state's witness, Investigator Randy Fowler with the Erath County Sherif”s Office, said the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office reported that the fiber was insufficient to obtain DNA evidence.
Another member of the CARE Team, registered nurse Rebecca Sullivan, said she performed the exam on W.T, which also returned no evidence of trauma or verification that he had been sodomized.
Sullivan also said she wouldn't expect to see physical evidence of the abuse since it had been one year since the contact allegedly occurred, and her impression was based "entirely on the words of the patient."
Clinical psychologist Daniel Lowrance, PHD said through evaluations and diagnosis by other medical professionals, reviewing some of Hannah's school records and based on his own analysis, Hannah exhibited signs of sexual abuse, including depression and acting out sexually.
Meanwhile, Heather Brogan McCarty, a licensed counselor, who had never evaluated the children but has been present in the courtroom since the trial began, said certain behaviors exhibited by the children and detailed in a report by another counselor "caused concern."
While McCarty said Hannah exhibited many behaviors that point to sexual abuse, she also said it was not typical for abused children to exaggerate or create stories of the abuse against them. She also said that children who have suffered sexual abuse more commonly underreport the offenses against them.
In reviewing the case files from another counselor, Nash pointed out separate interviews between the counselor and children on the same date, in which both children had a new, similar story to tell. He said at the time, the children were living in the same foster home and had regular visitation with their mother and grandmother.
"Is it likely that two children would concoct the same story on the same day, or recall the same event on the same day without help?" Nash asked.
McCarty said she could not say that the children had been coached without speaking with those involved directly and also said, "anything is possible."
She also said both children had been diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and the condition couldn't have arisen without a traumatic event to trigger the disorder.
"I can't say that James (Butz) is the perpetrator. But I do believe it is safe to say that they have been sexually abused. Due to their outcry, and details of abuse, I could assume that he is the perpetrator," McCarty said.
The trial will continue at 9 a.m. today when the state is expected to call its final witnesses.
If the jury finds Butz guilty, he faces five to 99 years in prison for the first-degree felony offense.