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Toddler’s testimony supports adjudication as a delinquent

February 24, 2017

Despite the three-year-old’s questionable testimony at a hearing, the Court of Appeals affirmed her stepbrother’s adjudication as a delinquent child because she never wavered when recounting the molestation.

C.S., then nine-years-old, was adjudicated as a delinquent child after the Dearborn Circuit Court found he had molested his then-three-year-old stepsister A.G. The act would have been a Level 4 felony if done by an adult. He appealed, arguing his adjudication was unsupported by sufficient evidence because A.G.’s testimony was incredibly dubious.

The Court of Appeals disagree in C.S. v. State of Indiana, 15A01-1606-JV-1423.

Although the young girl was inconsistent when testifying in court, the appellate panel attributed that to her age.  It also noted that during an interview initiated by Dearborn County law enforcement, she was neither unambiguous nor unequivocal.

 “[W]e find that, while the stress of the live admissibility hearing produced testimony from A.G. that was to some degree equivocal, contradictory, and suggestive of manipulation, these defects were absent in the controlled, non-adversarial environment of her (Children’s Advocacy Center) interview,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote for the court. “Crucially, on one point, A.G. never wavered: that C.S. touched her where he was not supposed to when she was on his bed … .”

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