The defense lawyer said the youths concocted a story about being abused.
By ROGER G. SMITH
CITY HALL REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The 15-year-old girl bobbed her feet repeatedly, rocking in the witness box as she gave testimony.
She answered routine questions, but long and uncomfortable pauses left the courtroom silent at times as the girl struggled to testify about the repeated sex abuse she has said she endured at age 12 and beyond.
The rape trial of George Schewirey, 47, of East Auburndale Avenue, opened Thursday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. A nine-man, three-woman jury is hearing the case in Judge R. Scott Krichbaum's court.
Schewirey is charged with nine counts of rape.
An indictment says that between Jan. 1, 1998, and Sept. 5, 2004, Schewirey engaged in sexual conduct with two girls and a boy, all under age 13. Ohio law says rape of minors under 13 can carry a penalty of life imprisonment if threat is involved.
Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Krueger said Schewirey looked for kids with troubled pasts and found them in those children. The three children previously had been in foster care and bounced from address to address.
"They are the perfect victims for a child molester, a coward," Krueger said.
Krueger said the youths would testify that Schewirey repeatedly forced the youngsters to perform or submit to sex acts.
Schewirey's defense lawyer, Gary Van Brocklin, countered that evidence will show the youths denied to Children Services Board workers that they had been sexually abused, then later made such accusations. Evidence also will show the youngsters voluntarily remained in proximity to Schewirey during the time the alleged abuse took place, he said.
A witness will testify to overhearing two of the youths plotting against Schewirey, Van Brocklin said. The youngsters concocted a story about being abused, he said.
Also, there is no physical evidence that the crimes occurred, Van Brocklin said. Schewirey had medical issues that would make it impossible to commit the crimes he's accused of, he said.
"It's the kids' word and the kids' word only," Van Brocklin said.