The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

August 29, 2013

Abuse trial begins in Mahaska County

OSKALOOSA — Bruce Spahr faced one of his two accusers Wednesday morning as the first day of testimony in State vs Spahr got underway.

Spahr is charged with four counts of second-degree sexual abuse, a Class B felony and is punishable by up to 25 years in prision on each count.

Assistant Attorney General Barry McCormally told jurors during his opening statement the case comes down to a secret.

“Family secrets. The evidence you’re going to hear in this case; it’s about a family that had a secret,” McCormally said.

Defense Attorney Ken Duker said Spahr's accusers had “changed their stories” on different occasions.

The prosecution presented their first witness after opening statements. The first witness was Accuser Number 1 in this case. (Identities of the accusers are not being revealed to protect their identities pursuant to Iowa court rules.)

According to Accuser Number 1, the alleged abuse occurred during the evening hours while she was in bed.

“I felt helpless, scared, sad. I didn’t know what to do at that point,” Accuser 1 said.

She left her room at went into the kitchen of her house and cried. According to the accuser, her mother came out to see why she was crying. It was at that point, she said, that she told her mother Spahr had abused her. After being pressed she changed her story and told her mother she had just had a nightmare.

“I felt trapped and responsible for my lie,” said the accuser. When asked by prosecuting attorney Barry McCormally what the truth was, Accuser 1 said that “[the] truth was that he did touch me.”

Duker's cross examination focused primarily on the accuser’s courtroom testimony compared to a deposition given in August of 2012. During the cross examination, Duker pointed the accuser to sections of her deposition in which she gave a timeline to when the alleged abuse occurred. Duker then questioned the accuser on her courtroom testimony saying that her courtroom testimony did not match up with her deposition testimony.

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