This is Kyle. Kyle testified on August 22. He was
five years old at the time he testified. And at the time
the offenses occurred, he was about three years old.
First, Mr. Bob, Bob Kelly, is charged with first degree sexual offense and
indecent liberties with Kyle The act: Kyle said "Mr. Bob put his finger up
his butt." ...
Then this was Kyle's testimony on August 22, 1991,
about what happened to him. ...
Now, what did Kyle testify to when he was here
before you? He was asked whether he remember Mr. Bob
doing certain things. And he said he remember Mr. Bob
putting his finger up his butt. And Audrey testified
that Kyle told her that Mr. Bob stuck his finger in my
butt. That's what they testified to in the courtroom.
So let's look back now to the time that he actually
told it to Audrey and to Officer Toppin. And that's what
this is for -- other, I call it, corroborating testimony
which supports this charge that Kyle -- that Mr. Bob
stuck his finger in Kyle's butt. These are some
interesting things that were happening with Kyle back in
the fall of 1988 when he was going to Little Rascals when
these things were alleged to have happened to him.
What did he say between Thanksgiving and Christmas
of 1988? "Mommy, stick your finger in my butt. Just do
it." One night when he was getting in the bathtub. This
was back during the time we contend to you that it was
actually happening to him at Little Rascals. Is that a
normal kind of natural thing for a child to say to their
mother? "Mommy, stick your finger in my butt." Have you
ever heard any of your children or grandchildren say that
to you? "Just do it," he said. Caught her by surprise.
She said, "Kyle, we don't do those kinds of things." And
then she looked at his rectum area and it was red and it
was swollen. And of course, they say, "Well, why didn't
you do something about that?" Because it went away and
it came back again, and then it went away again, and then
it came back again. So when she treated it, it went
away. What else did she notice that fall of '88?
A couple of times she testified that she saw blood
in his bowel movement. And she testified that she talked
to Doctor Chris Perry about that. And he said, "Well, if
it keeps going, then come to my office. But if it
doesn't, it's probably nothing to worry about." That's
what she testified Doctor Perry said. Then what else
happened during that fall with Kyle? Kyle was caught
masturbating by his mother. She said, "Kyle, what are
you doing?" He said, "I'm playing doctor." She said,
"How do you play doctor?" And he said, "You stick
something in your butt." Now, is that how children play doctor? Do you know
kids who play doctor like that by sticking stuff in their
butt? Or do know kids that play doctor with their little
doctor kit and their little stethoscope and they pretend
to give shots? Things that they've experienced themselves at the doctor is how
they play doctor.
Well, this is how Kyle had experienced playing doctor by having
something stuck in his butt. Then on January 17, 1989, Audrey talked to Kyle.
But he said, "Mr. Bob plays doctor at nap time." Again she says,
"Well, how do you play doctor?" "You stick something in
your butt." And then she took him to the Children's
Clinic on February 3, 1989. And Doctor Coleman did
observe some burst blood vessels and she says that it's
no way to tell one way or the other what caused that.
But it's more corroborating evidence about Kyle. If he
was having something stuck in his butt, then the logical
inference is that the burst blood vessels were caused by
Mr. Bob's act.
Then, remember this testimony?
"Do you remember playing doctor?" he was asked. "Yes. With who?" "Mr.
"How do you play?" This is cross-examination now. "He
hurted me. He stuck his finger in my butt." "Did you
ever play that game with Jim?" "No." Now, remember there
was an issue about that when his momma talked to him.
"Do you play doctor with Jim?" "Yeah." But he never said
Jim was sticking stuff in his butt. Just that he played
Doctor with Jim. Then when he's in the courtroom and
they ask him about that "Did you ever play that game,
doctor, with Jim?" "No." He said Jim was his friend and
they played cop, cowboy, and army.
So let's look for a minute at Kyle's case and how it
developed. Back in December of 1988, around the 10th of
December, Audrey Stever testified that Kyle didn't like
day care anymore and that she talked to her friend,
Brenda Toppin, about that. And she talked to Betsy Kelly
about that around the 10th of December. "Oh, he's fine.
Don't worry. He's normal. He's okay here." And she was
blaming it on her increased activity around the
"Nutcracker" ballet. Maybe it's not spending enough time
with him, maybe that's why he doesn't like day care. And
then on January -- that was in December. But he didn't
get better, it kept getting worse, that is, his behavior.
And then in January, January 13, 1989, we have a
conversation between Audry and Jane Mabry. Jane Mabry
again, where Jane tells Audrey that Joel was slapped by
Bob. But now we know that Jane didn't take Joel out of
day care right away and she left her other son in there
too. She wasn't thinking sexual abuse when it happened
either. And then Audrey noted also at that time that
Kyle's symptoms were worse, they weren't better and
"Nutcracker" was over so he should be okay. She was back
home now spending time. So she talked to Brenda Toppin
and Brenda told her, "Well, if you really want to know
what happened, ask some "W" questions: who, what, why,
when, where, and how."
And then on January 14 that's what Audrey did. She
asked Kyle, "Who's your favorite person at day care?"
And he said, "Shelly." And she said, "Is there anybody
there you don't like?" And he said, "Yes." She said,
"Are they big or little?" And he said, "Big." And she
said, "Who?" And he said, "Mr. Bob." And she said, "Why
don't you like him?" And he says, "I can't tell you. He
doesn't do it anymore." Partial disclosure. He wants to
tell so bad. He really does. He wants to tell his
mother but he can't because he's been threatened. We
don't know that yet. "I can't tell you. He doesn't do
it anymore." And Audrey says, "Well, this thing he
doesn't do anymore, does he do it at lunch or at snack,
or on the playground?" And Kyle interrupts her and says, "Naptime."
Naptime. We heard a lot of testimony about
what went on at that day care at nap time. And he
interrupted her. She hadn't even named nap time. And
she said, "What? What does he do at nap time." "He
doesn't do it anymore."
Then on January 17, Audrey talked to Brenda Toppin
and she -- there was some concern. Brenda said -- ah,
Audrey said, "You don't think it's sexual abuse, do you,
or anything like that?" She said, "No, it's probably
not. But maybe you should talk to Kyle some more." So
she did. And she said to him, "You need to tell me what
Mr. Bob did at nap time that made you sad." She's not
asking a question like did Mr. Bob touch your penis?
She's asking him you need to tell me what Mr. Bob did at
nap time that makes you sad? And he said again, "He
doesn't do it anymore." So she did ask him does Mr. Bob
ever touch your private parts? He says, "Not me. He
does it to the other boys, not me." "What does he do to
the others?" "He plays doctor." He comes right back to
what he was doing in the fall of '88. "How do you play
doctor?" "You stick something in your butt." Coming
back again to what we saw happening in November of 1988.
Then on January 21 -- then Audrey goes to the
Department of Social Services and reports it. And then
on January 21 -- that's what I have up here about Officer
Toppin's testimony. She did an interview with Kyle. And
he was fine until the subject turned to Little Rascals,
she testified. And then she turned the subject to Little
Rascals and he talked about Mr. Bob playing doctor. "He
doesn't do it anymore." She says, "Can you show me with
the dolls how Mr. Bob plays doctor?" But she just had
the dolls there. He of his on volition takes the boy
doll from the bag, pulls down the pants and the underwear
and sticks his finger in the doll's anus. And she says,
"Is this what happens when Mr. Bob plays doctor?" And he
said "Yes." Then he showed on himself how that happened.
And then on April 10, Kyle wants to go talk to
Officer Toppin and tell her some more things. He's
feeling safer now to tell things. "Anything else you
want to tell me?" she says, after he's told her a series
of events. And he's telling her some things about what
was put in his butt. And she says, "Did Mr. Bob put
anything else in your hiney?" And he says, "His finger."
So this, ladies and gentlemen, is evidence of first
degree sex offense being committed on Kyle Stever, of the
defendant taking indecent liberties with him by putting
his finger in Kyle's butt?
And you think, well, why is there no physical
evidence of that? This is another myth of child abuse.
So common. If all of these things are going on, why
aren't we seeing evidence of it physically? And you've
heard evidence from experts about that. About the
ability of the anus to heal and what it's made for in the
first place. And a sex offense only requires penetration
however slight. Penetration however slight. That
doesn't mean that Bob had to ram his finger all the way
up his rectum. And Bob knew that. He didn't know what
the law is, I'm saying. But he knew that if he was going
to physically damage these children that there would be
signs of it and he couldn't keep doing it. So he wasn't
out to tear them apart physically because he wanted to
keep on molesting them.
And again he tells Brenda Toppin on April 7, 1989,
when he wants to go to the police department and tell her
some things that happened, he was telling her where he
had to put his ding-dong. And she said, "Well, did Mr.
Bob make you -- did Mr. Bob put his ding-dong anywhere
else?" And he pointed to his open mouth. And then on
April 10 he told her again. And this was Kyle wanting to
go and tell her some things that had happened with him at
the day care.
Then again this was raised in cross-examination.
Kyle was asked about having to suck on Bob's ding-dong.
They asked him, "Well, where were you?" He said, "At the
day care." True. He was at the day care. "Who was
there?" "I don't remember." Do you think he's going to
remember who else was there when he's having to suck Bob
Kelly's penis. Think about what was in his mind at that I moment when he was
being made to do this to this 43 year-
old man. ....
So what we're looking for again is a coherent
package that's consistent. And under cross-examination
as to this incident about being made to suck on Mr. Bob's
ding-dong, he was asked, "Well, what did you do?" He
says, "I told him to stop." How helpless these children
must have felt--powerless, helpless. "I told him to
stop, but he didn't stop." And he never denied this act
during cross-examination, did he? He never said it did
not happen. And I -- believe me, you would have heard it
if he had.
Now, what else did we learn about Kyle that
corroborates this testimony, this testimony that he gave;
that corroborates what he said was happening to him at
the time it did happen? Would you look at his behavior,
behavior changes? And observations that were occurring
before Jamie ever uttered the first word about being
touched by the defendant, Bob Kelly. Changes that were
occurring at the time the defendant was touching him and
molesting him between September 30, 1988 and December 31,
1988. And with Kyle, these changes were observed not
only by his family but with people outside the family.
And look at all this. And it's very important to
consider these behaviors.
What did Mark Everson, Doctor Smith, Doctor Runyan,
Doctor Fredrickson, what did they all say about behaviors
of children who are sexually abused. They said that they
don't prove abuse. That's right.
Doctor Jean Smith said there are red flags that help
give you a consistent picture if the child says he's
being abused. They give a consistent picture about the
abuse. And she listed off some of the ones that she
commonly sees in children that she works with who are
sexually abused. She talked about nightmares, anxiety
and agitation, aggression towards family members or
peers, being afraid of certain particular individuals or
groups of individuals like men, regressive behavior such
as a child being potty-trained and then all of a sudden
wetting. Language may become infantile, baby talk
especially when talking about the sensitive area, the
abuse. A child may not be comfortable in his own room or
want to be in the room at all and would constantly check
back with his parents. And we've heard numerous
testimony about the children and the sleep problems they
were having at that time. "Children who have been
sexually abused," she said, "can't get back to their own
room or sleep alone even with -- often with reassurance."
And what did Doctor Everson say what to look for?
A coherent package that's consistent. You look at the
behavior and what the child says. He talked about the
behaviors also. He talked about sexual acting out,
coaxing sexual behavior, masturbation, fears, and
anxieties. New fears that come up that aren't
developmentally appropriate for a child that age, such as
a fear of men or a particular man, changes in their
personality caused by stress like regressive behavior,
bed wetting, clinginess, thumb sucking. And as I name
these, I hope that you are sitting there remembering how
many of these children so far have had these kinds of
So when you're looking at the behaviors you look at
what the child says. Is what the child is saying
traumatic --- a behavior that they're exhibiting that of
a traumatic child? So let's look at Kyle.
Now, with Kyle, we've got a range of behaviors that
were observed with him. It started at the time, we
contend, that he was being abused in October 1988. He
complained of stomachaches on Little Rascals days. He
would ask to go to the studio or stay home with [his babysitter] Rosa.
... And once he got to Little Rascals, he would cry when he got there and
would refuse to get out of the car. And sometimes he
would be physically sick on Little Rascals days. And
again she's attributing it to her increased busyness with
the "Nutcracker." But then it didn't go away. And she
did become concerned and tried to do something about it
in January 1989.
He became aggressive in hitting. He began to use the word "hate." And what
kind of child did she say Kyle was before this ever began to happen? She said
he was a sweet, quiet, loving kind of little boy, who she and he got along
well, no problems. And then all of sudden he becomes aggressive and starts
using the word "hate." A
word she says they don't -- try not to use in the home.
He showed anger towards her. Something that he had never
He had sleep problems, nightmares. He began to
sleep with his parents when he had been a good sleeper.
He slept in his own room since he was a year old, his
mother testified. He began to be afraid of his own room,
thought there were monsters and witches. He wet the bed
at night, three to four times a week, and he had been
potty trained when he was a few days before two years
He also was caught, as we've heard earlier, masturbating. ...
He complained about his bottom hurting. And we talked
about that already. And she told Brenda Toppin of these
observations in February of 1989.
Now, what did other people besides the Stevers see
with regard to Kyle? Independent observers. ...
First of all, we got Dawn Swain who babysat him in
1989. We have the sexual play. He's talking about
playing a boyfriend/girlfriend game. And she says,
"Well, how do you play boyfriend/girlfriend? And he
says, "You kiss and take off your clothes." Now is that
the way children play boyfriend and girlfriend? How
would he know that if it hadn't happened to him? She
says, "Where did you learn that? Or how do know about
that?" He says, "Mr. Bob did it at Little Rascals." He
said when he would kiss her, he would try to stick his
tongue in her mouth. He would put his lips on hers and
move his head back and forth like an adult kind of
And who else was an independent observer? Miss
Mitchener. She was our last witness, the Vietnamese lady
who runs Little Friends preschool. ... And remember the two incidents she
testified to regarding the defendant, Bob Kelly, which
are very telling, I argue to you. In November one day, he comes in walking
real slow -- and remember she demonstrated how he was walking and his face
and eyes were red like he had been crying -- and he went to the bathroom and he
stayed in there forever.
And she went in to see if he needed some help, and she
saw that his penis and the balls -- his balls were red
and raw. And she gave him some cream. And she testified
that Bob Kelly brought him to Little Friends that day.
Now, in December she witnessed another incident with
Kyle. ... What happened that day is that the defendant came to pick up the
children and take them back to Little Rascals. And what she testified to was
that Jamie heard his voice, hadn't even
seen him yet, but heard his voice and had this kind of
reaction. He was screaming and shaking in fear. He
clung to her leg and said, "I don't want to go. I don't
want to go." And what does that tell you about Jamie's
feelings about Little Rascals? It's pretty descriptive
and graphic, isn't it? So much so that she called the
Stevers that night about it because she was so disturbed
about it, she said, because she had never seen a child
act that way ever in the nine years of experience as a
preschool teacher. Never had she seen a child behave
that way, where the child was screaming, shaking,
clinging to her leg. So she called Mr. Stever and
talked to Mark. And he said,
"Well, we're busy with the "Nutcracker" so maybe that's
all it is. But that wasn't all it was, was it? But Mark
didn't know that at the time.
It doesn't make sense that because his parents are
busy with the "Nutcracker" that he's clinging, shaking
screaming, saying that he doesn't want to go to Little
Rascals. It just doesn't make sense. What makes sense
though is what Bob was doing to him. That's why he
didn't want to go to Little Rascals.
So what you have with Kyle with all these behaviors
and what he said, it was more than a blip, wasn't it?
It was more than a phase. It was caused, we argue to
you, by nobody other than Bob Kelly.
So the explanation the defense is trying to get you
to buy with Kyle Stever is that all these changes were
caused by his family's involvement with the "Nutcracker"
ballet or that they were caused by the baby-sitter named
Rosa. It just doesn't make sense. They fit the picture
of a traumatized child. And Kyle would certainly be
traumatized, wouldn't he, by having to touch the
defendant's penis, to suck his penis, and by having the
defendant put his finger in his butt. Which is what Kyle
said happened to him. Those are the three things we are
concerned about with Kyle. Those things happened at the
hands of this man who had been entrusted to care of care
for their son. ....
[Kyle] had started attending the day care
because his mother said that she wanted to socialize, and
she wanted him to have kids to play with; that he had
been staying at home with Rosa Valentine before that. He
was very happy with Rosa. He liked Rosa. They got along
well. But she felt like he needed to be around other
kids to play, and that's why he went to Little Rascals.
Now, it was some time during this time period that
the playing doctor with Jim Boyce incident occurred. And
we don't have an exact date of when that happened. But
what we know from the testimony is that at some point in
time, ah, Mrs. Stever came in to her child's room and he
was lying on the floor -- and depending on which version
of it occurred, he either was fondling himself or was
touching himself or masturbating -- and she asked him
what was he was doing at that time. And what you've been
told is that he said that he was playing doctor. And she
asked him some questions about that. "What do you mean
you're playing doctor?" "And how do you play doctor?"
And her testimony was that his response was "you stick
something in your butt." And she then asked him, "where
did you learn that?" And he told her about Jim Boyce,
who is the little neighbor boy.
Now, a problem there arises with the playing doctor
story is that it's been told several different ways,
depending on which version of it you get from which
Now, if you look at what the Social Services report
says on that interview, you recall Doctor Raskin had
examined the Social Services' report. And the version of
it given in there was that what the child said was the
same thing about playing with Jim Boyce. But it was not
sticking something in your butt. It was "you look in
your hiney", which is a much different statement.
Now, either statement, you don't know what it means
particularly since it's linking to some incident or
something with Jim Boyce. This is something that was
never pursued in the investigation. You know, it's very
difficult to understand why not. You would think with
this kind of report, one of the very first things an
investigator would want to do is "let's go talk to, you
know, Jim and let's talk to Jim's parents. Let's talk to
Jamie about this issue and find out what this means." Did
the child say, "You stick something in your butt?" Did
the child say, "You look in your hiney?" Is this
something that occurred in some game between Jim and this
child? Is it something that occurred between Jamie and
some other person and he's just saying it's Jim? We
Now, this is where this case should have started in
terms of investigation. And yet the primary investigator, the only
investigator who testified in this case, doesn't even mention Jim Boyce until a
year later. It makes a big difference because this is one of the things that
Audrey Stever will look back on later and say
he must have meant sexual abuse.
Now, the other thing that happened during this time
period -- and this is a little more difficult to try to
fix the dates on -- was Mrs. Mitchener telephoned both --
she talked with, ah, Audrey Stever on one occasion, she
talked with Mark on one occasion and she talked
with Mrs. Toppin twice about Jamie during this time period. ...
Now, the incidents that she talked about at that
time -- were two that she testified about. One was an
incident where she said that Mr. Kelly came in in the
morning to Little Friends with Kyle, had him by the hand,
was her testimony, and was walking him in and that Kyle
was in a lot of pain and really limping -- and a very
graphic description of Mr. Kelly bringing this little
three, four-year-old child into her preschool in obvious
distress. She said that when the child went to the
bathroom later on that morning, he didn't come out right
away or was having some problem and she went in and
checked on him and she observed at that time his genitals
were very red, very raw. She thought at the time, she
said, it might be a problem with detergent. The mother
changed detergent or something like that and it bothered
the child and he was in obvious distress. So she called
and talked to Mark Stever about that because she called
at night, ah, Mrs. Stever wasn't home. She spoke to Mark
and about two weeks later Mrs. Stever called her back,
and at the time she called Mark, he apologized to her and
said "we hope it won't be a repeated problem", something
like that. I'm not real clear on why Mr. Stever was apologizing to Mrs.
Mitchener at that time. The whole context of the thing is something that I
don't see what you would have to apologize about it. The whole conversation
is unclear as to exactly what was going on.
The second story she said, about 7 a month later that Mr. Kelly came and picked
Kyle up at day care and that that's the occasion when Kyle, ah, did not want to
go with Mr. Kelly. He was very upset. She
said, "you have never seen such fear in a child's eyes.
It was really horrible." Obviously, he didn't want to go
anywhere with Mr. Kelly. In one of the versions that was
told, he said something about he did not -- please don't
tell his mother that he didn't like the day care, didn't
like Mr. Bob, didn't want to go back there. Something to
that effect. Now, in going back and looking at those stories
they're interesting for two reasons: First, Mrs. Stever clearly testified
that she always took Kyle to Little
Friends. Kyle did not go to Little Rascals in the
morning and then go to Little Friends ever. That's what
his mother says.
... So something's wrong with the story. We have no way of knowing what it
is. Mrs. Mitchener may be mistaken as to who brought the child in. It could
have been the child's father. It
could have been the child's mother. It could have been
some other person. We don't know. She may have gotten
this child confused with another child. ... But the fact is Mr. Kelly could
not have been the one that appeared at the day care -- at
Little Friends in the morning with this child because
this child was with his mother in the morning.
Now, the other incident that -- where Mr. Kelly is
supposed to have picked the child up and he was afraid.
Now, that is the incident when with Miss Mitchener
-- when Mr. Kelly picked the child up that she called
Brenda Toppin and reported it for some reason. ...
Now, there's nothing wrong with that at all. And
certainly, if a preschool teacher or anyone else observes
something about a child that raises some concern he needs
to report it to the proper person, whether it's the
parent or the police or whatever. But these incidents
tell you a lot about what attitudes were later on.
Because it's not long after this, in December, that
there's the first conversation that occurs between Miss
Toppin and Miss Stever about Kyle.
Now, both of them characterize that conversation as
a very casual, ah, meeting between the two of them. That
at that point in time, ah, there was no concern about
abuse. That wasn't an issue in Mrs. Stever mind at
that time. She just, ah, said she ran into Brenda
Toppin. And she said, ah, "Kyle's not happy at day care.
He's been having some problems. What should I do about
it?" Something to that effect. Both of them said that
it was very casual, nothing to be concerned about at that
I mean if you're a police officer and you want red
flags raised, you got a lady calling you up and saying
this child was brought in in pain, they had red irritated
genitals, they don't like this man, they show there's
deathly fear of him; then your conversation is going to
be anything but casual later on when the mother of that child comes to you and
says, "I'm real worried about the child. He doesn't want to attend this day
care", which is the same day care Miss Mitchener is calling and complaining
about it. So it's difficult to understand
why they're trying to portray that there's ... no concern of abuse.
Now, Mrs. Kyle talked a lot of about Kyle's
behaviors and how unhappy he was at the day care and how
much he didn't like the day care. He didn't want to be
there. He begged to stay home with Rosa. He would say
he had the stomachache. He didn't want to go to day
care. He hated it. Now, those are her reconstructions.
She started keeping her diary in February of 1989. You
recall she became convinced abuse had occurred some time
back in January and she started writing her recollections
Now, her interest at that point is very obvious. She's made her mind up that
her child has been abused. She's made her mind up that Mr. Kelly did it. And
now she's going to write down what happened that proves it. And she makes her
records of the playing doctor incident;
she makes her records of the incident where Mr. Kelly,
ah, picked the child up. She made no record and no
mention in her testimony about the call from Ginette
Mitchener concerning the irritated genital area, which is
odd, because you would think that would be one of the
more striking things that you would want to write down if
you're going to accuse somebody of abuse. Now, the only
reason that occurs to me that she not record that is
because it's very difficult to say that you're being calm
and casual and you don't have any suspicions up here if
you've got that kind of report back here.
On Fridays were the days that he was only suppose to
go half a day to the day care when Kyle didn't need to be
there all day -- and remember this is a child that is not
there because the mother needs to work, this is a child
that's there solely to have a good time, to play with
other children. This is a child that had a perfectly
satisfactory sitter in Rosa Valentine that the mother was
worried about losing, because she cut back Miss
Valentine's hours. So you've got -- so the question
about this child's being so horrible and unhappy at the
day care, why not just let him stay with Rosa on the days
when he says, "Momma, I want to stay home. I want to
stay with Rosa." Why don't you let him?
Well, what happens instead is, on Friday instead of
him going in late or in the afternoon -- and I'm going to
pick up in October. October 21, he went in at 9:30 in
the morning. October 22, he went in at 2:00. On
November 4, he went in at 11:00. On the 11th of November
he went in at 12:00. On the 18th, he went in at 10:15.
Then they were closed over the Thanksgiving holidays.
And then when he came back again it was December 9 at
Well, if a child doesn't want to go and he's having
all these problems and only is supposed to be here half a
day on Friday any way, why is he coming in the morning?
And the answer is very simple because it's easy to look
back later to make things appear worse than they actually
Now, it may well have been that Kyle said that from
time to time he didn't want to go to the day care. It
may have been he said he didn't like Little Rascals. But
it's hard to believe that you have got a child that's
exhibiting some extreme distress and yet you take him to
the day care more often but you leave him there when you
don't need to. If he's that unhappy, pull him out, let
him stay home with Miss Valentine.
Now, the first meeting between Audrey Stever and
Brenda Toppin occurred some time in this time period. We
don't know the exact date. We know it was some time
before the "Nutcracker." In all probability some time in
December, some time before the "Nutcracker". ... We don't know
exactly when. Again, this was a casual meeting. On the
13th at this meeting between Miss Stever and Miss Toppin,
this is where she got her instructions on how to question
Kyle Ah, she said that at that time she asked Brenda
how to question Kyle. She said neither of them expressed
any concern about sex abuse.
She had no concern at that
time. But she said the reasons that she talked to Miss
Toppin that she was concerned about leading the child.
She said, ah -- and I asked her why at that point. Now,
why was she worried about leading the child? And she
said she didn't know. She wasn't sure. She just didn't
want to lead him into saying anything. And it's not
something that she was really thinking about at the time.
The second question that came to my mind was if you
don't have any concern about physical or sexual abuse,
and you don't have any concern that there's something
going on that you want an investigator to do something
about it, why don't you just talk to your child yourself?
Why do you go to a police officer or somebody else and
say how do I question my [child].
I think most of us
know how to talk to our children. But she's going to
Brenda Toppin. And again they stress not in any official
capacity, not being an investigator, but just for advice
on how to question a child.
What Miss Toppin said she told her at that time was
just wait until the day care comes up in some way. If
the child brings up the day care in some way, then ask
the "W" questions. ... Well, Miss Stever did not wait
for the child to bring the day care up. She went the
next day and she sat down with the child with some
storybooks and started going through a story with the
child and started questioning the child about the day
care. This is not the child bringing up Little Rascals.
This is not the child bringing up Bob Kelly. This is
Mrs. Stever bringing up the topic for the purpose of
questioning the child.
The only record we have of what went on is the
record that was constructd by Mrs. Stever after she
became convinced that her child had been abused. Not an
objective record of what actually went on. Not something
that you can say I know to an absolute certainty that
she's accurately recorded every question she asked and
every answer she got from the child.
And it's one thing that we learned throughout this
case. It does make a difference how you question a
child. It makes a big difference. And it can be a major
problem. And we have no idea what was going on at one of
the earlier stages of this case in terms of questioning