News and Tribune

Clark County

March 20, 2013

Sexual abuse case wraps up

Fisher’s fate up to Clark County jury

JEFFERSONVILLE — Closing arguments were presented in the fourth day of a trial of a Charlestown woman charged with engaging in and coercing sex acts with two juvenile relatives. The trial was in the hands of the jury as of late Tuesday night.

Juanita Fisher, 35, is facing several charges of child molestation, as it is alleged that between 2008 and 2009, she forced relatives, both of whom were under the age of 14 at the time of the alleged abuse, to engage in sex acts with her and with each other. 

The now 15-year-old girl and 17-year-old boy are brother and sister.

 

THE DEFENSE

In his closing arguments, Fisher’s defense attorney Mitchele Harlan continued to challenge the inconsistencies in the stories of the alleged victims, their credibility and hammered home to the jury the burden of proof the state must meet.

Harlan pointed to inconsistencies in the testimony of the victims, which included the home in which the alleged abuse occurred, the times of the abuse and the specifics of the abuse that varied from different accounts collected by various authorities prior to going to trial.

Between both children’s testimony, Harlan said the alleged abuse could have occurred anywhere from 2002 to 2009.

“It wouldn’t be a thing where you see major changes,” he said of the timeline. “There have been major changes.”

In addition, he noted consistent denials by the two children when initially confronted with the allegations of abuse, and another denial as recent as February 2012.

Earlier in the day Tuesday, as Harlan built his case, he rolled out a series of witnesses that were meant to put doubt about the credibility of the victims’ testimony in the minds of the jurors.

Harlan again brought up conversations over text messages and social media that the brother and sister had with the brother’s ex-girlfriend, who is now 15 years old.

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