DECATUR — A series of recorded interviews with a young Decatur girl about her repeated rapes — and her mother’s harrowing testimony about learning of the assaults from her child — will be allowed as evidence in the trial of the 34-year-old man accused of the crimes.

Judge Thomas Griffith ruled they would be admitted to the case at a motion hearing in Macon County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Antwain J. Ward has pleaded not guilty to two counts of the predatory criminal sexual assault of a child under 13. Through his defense attorney, Tiffany Senger, Ward had objected to the recorded interviews, made during investigations into the alleged assaults, as being riddled with inconsistencies. Senger also said the hearsay evidence of the mother, who had coaxed her daughter to speak after telling the child of the sexual abuse she, too, had suffered as a girl, was not reliable.

But Griffith, who listened to the tearful mother give her testimony in the hearing after also listening to the taped interviews, accepted the opposing arguments of Assistant State’s Attorney Kate Kurtz. In the case of the evidence of what she said to her mother, Kurtz said the girl doesn’t just “parrot back” what is said to her, but tells her own singular story of abuse.

Kurtz acknowledged there were inconsistencies in the taped interviews about time and places, but pointed out the child had moved around a lot and lived a life that is “chaotic and unstable.” Kurtz added: “But when she is describing the different things that happened to her, she is consistent.”

A sworn affidavit about the case from Decatur police officer Martin St. Pierre said the girl had said Ward started raping her when she was in first grade and had repeatedly assaulted her over a span of years. St. Pierre said forensic evidence from the girl’s underwear had linked Ward to the assaults.

Judge Griffith set a pretrial hearing for Jan 4. He said inconsistencies and problems with evidence will be best dealt with during the trial by cross-examination of witnesses.

2018 mug shots from the Herald & Review

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Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


Macon County Courts Reporter

Macon County courts reporter for the Herald & Review.

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