Teacher's child molestation trial will begin its second week today
Published: September 4, 2012
Font size: [A] [A] [A]
ST. CROIX - The child molestation case against former elementary school teacher Tydel John will continue in its second week today in V.I. Superior Court.
John is charged with multiple counts of child molestation, unlawful sexual contact and child abuse in connection with three different arrests since 2007. The cases have been consolidated and are being heard by Judge Harold Willocks.
John first was arrested Dec. 5, 2007, then again in April of 2008 and a third time in August 2009.
In the first two arrests, he was charged with molesting girls between the ages of 8 and 13 as he taught at two different schools on the island. While on pre-trial release, he was charged with touching a girl in Mutual Homes. He faces multiple counts of first-degree unlawful sexual contact, first-degree aggravated rape, child abuse and child neglect and accused of fondling, digitally raping, exposing himself or making lewd remarks to at least nine girls.
Jurors were selected in an all-day process Aug. 28, and testimony began the following day and continued through the end of the week with jurors hearing testimony from four of John's accusers.
The girls, who now are in their early 20s, testified that John chose them as special friends in his fourth-grade class. One girl said she was fondled as they sat in the classroom playing a domino game. Another one of the girls testified that during a lesson in the classroom in 2001, John reached under her desk and touched her genitals.
The next day, she said, he sent her a note apologizing for touching her, saying that he thought she would like it. In the note, he ordered her to return it when she had read it, and she did, the woman testified. She also testified that John would share intimate details of his relationship with his wife.
Two other students, who were in John's class at Good Hope but did not report being molested by him, also testified. They testified that John said he had an imaginary friend named Theresa and that he told the students she knew everything about them and what they did in and out of school. The girls said John warned them about having boyfriends and said Theresa would tell him about everything that they did with the boys.
Jurors also heard from Good Hope School officials, the custodian of records at Luis Hospital, a police officer and police detective.
Prosecutors said they plan to call about three dozen witnesses in the case. In her opening statements to the jury, Assistant Attorney General Charlotte Pool Davis said she will prove all of the individual incidents were true, starting with the first victim, at Good Hope School. She said the girls kept the sexual encounters with John a secret because he told them to, and they did not talk about what happened until the 2007 investigation was launched.
Defense attorney Martial Webster said John was not a conventional teacher and was strict with his students. He said no medical evidence will be introduced to show that any of the girls were violated because the stories are fabricated.
As the case continues this week, prosecutors are expected to begin to call victims and other witnesses in the allegations that arose at the Evelyn M. Williams Elementary School.
The trial is expected to last three weeks.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.