Two of Tydel John's former students testify in molestation case
Published: August 31, 2012
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ST. CROIX - The child molestation case against former elementary school teacher Tydel John, will continue in its forth day 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 Tuesday and testimony began on Wednesday, when jurors heard testimony from two of the accusers.
The girls, who now are in their early 20s, testified that John chose them as special friends in his fourth-grade class. One of the girls testified that during a lesson in the classroom in 2001, John reached under her desk and touched her vagina.
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.
A police investigation was launched some time later, but was never completed.
When testimony resumed Thursday, jurors heard briefly from Norma Lindsay, the custodian of records at Luis Hospital, who testified about medical records for one of John's accusers from an April 2003 visit to the emergency room.
Ruth Quow, custodian of records at Good Hope School, also testified, presenting a series of student records that included report cards, counseling information, progress reports and student conference information for the accusers who attended that school.
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 two witnesses also testified as to who the students were in their fourth-grade class and said that they did not remember John having any inappropriate behavior with them or in their presence.
Outside of the jury's presence on Thursday, Emergency Room physician Dr. Hwang Park testified about an emergency room visit by one of the accusers who had been raped two years after she said John had molested her. Willocks ruled that Park's testimony should not be admitted as evidence to the jury.
V.I. Police Detective Deborah Jack, who investigated the initial accusations against John, and Police Officer Geraldine Bryan, who responded to the complaint in 2007, also testified.
After lunch, a problem developed in the courtroom for the second straight afternoon with the air conditioning unit. The temperature in the courtroom rose to where it became uncomfortable for the judge and the jury, and court recessed for the day just after 3 p.m.
Prosecutors said they plan to present 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.
The trial is expected to last three weeks.