Sutherland rape trial continues, experts testify

GREENVILLE— State witnesses were called in a rape case on Tuesday morning in Darke County Common Pleas Court. Judge Jonathan P. Hein presided, with Darke County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Deborah Quigley and the defendant’s attorney Mark Wieczorek present.

Jeffrey S. ‘Scott’ Sutherland, 33, of Greenville, appeared in court today on three counts of rape, all first-degree felonies. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.

The state alleged that Sutherland sexually assaulted an 8-year-old family member multiple times while they were in his care. The victim reported the abuse on April 20, 2020, and the Darke County Sheriff’s Department opened an investigation the same day.

State witnesses called on Tuesday included the victim’s mother, Darke County Detective Rachel Prickett, Miami Valley Crime Lab forensic scientist Rachel Newton, Darke County Detective Sargent Chris Clark, Ohio BCI Cyber Crime Unit Special Agent Supervisor Justin Root and Dr. Brenda Miceli, Pediatric Psychologist at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

During their testimony on Monday, the victim testified that Sutherland sexually assaulted them multiple times.

The victim’s mother testified that she was under the impression that Sutherland ‘had a good relationship’ with the victim and their siblings prior to the assault being reported.

During cross examination, the victim’s mother admitted that sometimes the 8-year-old victim can get confused when explaining or telling stories.

She added that she did have knowledge that the victim did change their story during the course of the investigation, once saying that the assaults could have been a dream.

Later on Tuesday afternoon, Special Agent Supervisor Root discussed Sutherland’s cell phone, which was seized on April 21, 2020 on a search warrant. Root analyzed the phone and spoke to the jury about several Google searches that were collected during his analysis.

Some of the links collected generated from Google searches included phrases such as: “deleting the presence of male DNA in cases of sexual assault without ejaculation,” “how long does DNA last” and “how long does skin DNA last in a women’s body.”

Root explained that the articles and websites that included those phrases were generated from Google searches that were made from Sutherland’s smart phone on April 21, 2020.

Lastly, Dr. Miceli testified to the jury about the ways children most commonly react to sexual assault.

She told the jury that while most children don’t recant their stories, some kids do so to bring normalcy back to their life.

“Often times if they don’t have family support or if they’ve told and a lot of things have happened that they weren’t really crazy about,” Dr. Miceli said. “People getting in trouble that they didn’t want to get in trouble, sometimes children will have to go into foster care or have to live with other people, some people are really sad in their families, so they may recant what they’ve said as a way to make things go back to normal.”

Court will reconvene at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Due to subject matter, there will be no livestream during the trial.

 

Abigail Miller / Editor

Abigail Miller is a Greenville native, Kent State graduate, writer, crocheter, shopaholic and friend. Contact Darke County Now Reporter Abigail Miller at amiller@darkecountynow.com.

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