By RICK HAYES
MT. VERNON — —
Prosecutors presented their case before a jury evenly divided between men and women on Thursday in the first day of proceedings in the trial of Mt. Vernon resident Albert Rainey.
Rainey is accused of committing two acts of predatory criminal sexual assault against a 9-year-old family member in 2006.
Five witnesses were called to testify for the prosecution on Thursday, with State's Attorney Doug Hoffman and Assistant State's Attorney Darin Rice presenting evidence on behalf of the state. Rainey is being represented by Sean Featherstun.
Rainey is being retried by the local court after he entered an open of guilty to the charges in 2007, and was sentenced to 27 years to the Illinois Department of Corrections. The conviction was overturned by the Fifth District Court of Appeals.
Hoffman announced at the end of the day — with court recessing at approximately 3 p.m. — that it had completed its case. Featherstun is expected to present his evidence in the case beginning at 9 a.m. today, with jury deliberations expected to begin later today.
During opening arguments, Rice alleged the assaults occurred around the start of school in 2006, although reports of the incident weren't revealed until early November.
Rice said that video and audio recordings of the victim's statement to then Detective Ken McElroy of the Mt. Vernon Police Department at the Amy Center on the day the alleged incidents were reported, and statements given by Rainey to the same detective would prove the state's case.
Featherstun, in his opening statement, said McElroy didn't "probe" during questioning of the victim and the defendant. Featherstun also alleged that no one sought medical attention for the victim, which he termed as "important evidence."
Featherstun revealed during opening arguments that Rainey had been a victim of sexual abuse as a child, which led to the alleged confession he made to police.
Matthew Gordon, a patrol officer for the Mt. Vernon Police Department at the time and now a detective, testified he took the initial report of possible sexual abuse report from the victim's grandmother on Nov. 3, 2006. Gordon said he turned over that information to McElroy and notified officials from the Department of Child and Family Services.
McElroy, who is now the chief of police for the Beckemeyer Police Department, testified he interviewed the victim, a fourth-grader at the time, at the Amy Center that afternoon and found probable cause for Rainey's arrest, which was also made on the same day.
McElroy said during the interviewing process — which was also played for the jury — the victim knew the difference between a truth and lie, and outlined specifics concerning the alleged events. Rainey allegedly touched the victim while babysitting.
The victim also testified Thursday, detailing the alleged sexual acts which happened — one in the living room and another while the victim was bathing.
Under cross examination from Featherstun, the victim said she did not report the incidents until several months after they happened because she was scared and didn't know how others would react.
Law enforcement officials didn't learn of the events until they were reported by the grandmother, who testified that she confronted the victim on the morning of Nov. 3, 2006, after receiving a telephone call from a parent of a friend of the victim.
While discussing Good Touch, Bad Touch lessons she had learned at school, the grandmother said the victim "reluctantly" called out Rainey as the man who inappropriately touched her. Although pressed by Featherstun on why the grandmother didn't report the alleged abuse to the victim's mother, she said, "I wanted to hear it from (victim) her until I told anyone else. I was having a hard time holding it together at that time."
The grandmother also testified after the victim identified the Rainey as the abuser, she, her daughter, and granddaughter went to the police department together for statements.
The mother reportedly was working when the alleged events occurred and on the day the victim identified Rainey.
The mother of the victim also testified, indicating that she had discussions with her daughter concerning sexual activity, the victim later testified that she had no such discussions with her mother. She also testified that personnel at the Amy Center had recommended that no medical treatment be sought for the victim.
McElroy had testified there was no reason to seek medical attention for the victim since the procedure is "intense," and in most cases the procedure is done "only if we believe that injury has been done to the child."
The trial continues today, with the prosecution presenting its case.