Teacher's last 2 accusers testify
Published: September 7, 2012
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ST. CROIX - The prosecution is wrapping up its case in the child molestation trial of former elementary school teacher Tydel John.
The case is nearing the end of its second week in V.I. Superior Court, and jurors heard testimony Thursday from the final two victims, who accused John of sexually assaulting them when they were younger.
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 was arrested three separate times: Dec. 5, 2007; in April of 2008; and 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.
The trial began Aug. 28, and when jurors returned to the courtroom on Thursday, they heard from a now 17-year-old girl who reported in 2007 that John had molested her. The girl was timid on the witness stand, placing her hand to her forehead at times during her testimony.
She testified that John was someone who she had known for some time and had gone to his house on several occasions, but that stopped when he touched her one day in class.
Under direct examination, she testified that when she was in John's classroom, he began rubbing her legs then placed his finger into her underwear and touched her genitals. She said she never reported the incident, until sexual assault outreach specialists came to the school to give a presentation.
Earlier this week, jurors heard from Shalimar Hodge and Darlene Springer, two outreach specialists, whose presentation on "good touches and bad touches" prompted four female students at Evelyn Williams Elementary School to report that John had been touching them inappropriately.
The girl who John is accused of molesting while he was on pre-trial release on the other charges also took to the witness stand on Thursday. She said she was visiting with a friend and was sitting on the staircase leading to her friend's apartment when John came down the stairs behind her and touched her on the buttocks.
The girl said there was no exchange between them, and John went to his car and drove away.
During cross-examination, defense attorney Martial Webster asked the girl whether she saw John's hands as he came down the stairs. Webster asked whether it was possible that John may have been carrying food in his hands and that his hands were occupied as he passed her.
She said she did not know.
So far during the trial, jurors have heard from all nine of John's accusers; other former students; school officials from Eulalie Rivera School, Evelyn Williams School and Good Hope School; police officers and detectives; hospital officials; and the case agent, Naomi Joseph, who took the stand as the final witness Thursday afternoon.
Webster is expected to put on several witnesses during his defense case, and the trial is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. today.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.