Jurors Hear Sexual Abuse Details from Child in Video Interview

By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A 6-year-old, who is now 9, told a forensic interviewer back in 2011 that James Olds touched her, exposed himself, took illicit photos of her and sexually assaulted her.

The girl on Tuesday testified that she couldn't remember the incidents but the videotaped interview that started a police investigation was played for the jurors Wednesday.

The girl said some things that didn't make sense or didn't involve Olds but she also gave some details of sexual abuse incidents.

James Olds, 45, is charged with second-degree sexual abuse, exploitation of a minor, lascivious acts with a child, indecent contact with a child, lascivious conduct with a minor, false imprisonment and indecent exposure. He is accused of sexually abusing a girl between 2008 and 2010, when she was 3 to 5 years of age.

The trial will continue 9 a.m. Thursday in Linn County District Court. The defense is expected to start its case.

Rachel Haskin, a St. Luke's Child Protection Center forensic interviewer, testified young children like the 6-year-old get confused or deny something happened because it's difficult for them to talk about. They also get confused about when an incident happened.

"Children around the age of 5 or 6 don't have the brain development to understand the concept of time," Haskin said.

Haskin said they often combine more than one event into one incident.
Haskin also explained that it's not unusual for there to be a delay on when a child reports the abuse. Some children are so young that they don't understand the acts are wrong or the adult abuser may tell them it's a secret and telling the secret will get them into trouble.

John Jacobsen, Olds attorney, tried to discredit the interview, claiming Haskin asked the child leading questions or kept repeating words or comments which would make the child believe it because she was saying it.

Haskin said she gets more response from a child with an open-ended question than a direct one. She has information from DHS or a parent of what was reported but she wants to hear it from the child.

In the video, Haskin asked the girl for details such as, in what room did the abuse happen, what did the camera looked like and what was used to restrain her.
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