Six-year-old takes the stand

LISBON – Jurors in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court got to hear directly from a 6-year-old girl Monday, who testified by video deposition about allegations of molestation from late 2012.

Brian Curran, 44, Wintersville, is charged with gross sexual imposition for his alleged actions with the then 4-year-old girl.

During his opening statements Assistant County Prosecutor Timothy McNicol said the child’s grandmother became concerned when her granddaughter began showing “red flag” signs of abuse. Eventually, the girl reportedly told her grandmother what Curran had allegedly done to her.

The grandparents, who now have custody of both the girl and her younger brother, took the child to the East Liverpool Police Department and the child reportedly repeated her story to a child forensic interviewer in Weirton, W.Va., giving the same story.

Besides the testimony of the child, jurors also heard from East Liverpool police Capt. Patrick Wright and Detective Rob Smith. Wright was involved in the search of the apartment at Woodland Hills where the molestation is alleged to have occurred. Smith along with Detective Darin Morgan interviewed Curran about the allegations for more than 90 minutes in the early morning hours of Oct. 6, 2012.

Jurors were able to hear and read a transcript of the interview, during which Curran repeatedly denied doing anything to the girl. However, he could not offer any explanation for the story the child was giving, except to offer that the child’s grandparents hated him and wanted him out of their lives.

“I have no idea where all this is coming from,” Curran said of the allegations during the interview. “I wish to God I did, cause I would never, ever do nothing like that to (her).”

The police also questioned him about his drug use or whether he was out of control sometimes.

“I can’t, I can’t remember ever being so messed up on drugs, you know to, to where I can’t remember doing what I’m doing,” Curran replied.

At one point Morgan stated “this little girl’s gonna have to live with this for the rest of her life” and Curran responded, “Yeah, I know she is.”

According to Smith, the girl’s mother seemed to want nothing to do with the investigation and it was nearly a year later until police were able to interview the mother, despite an ongoing effort to locate her.

Defense attorney Jennifer Gorby questioned Smith about the grandmother making the initial allegation at the East Liverpool police station and how much of that the little girl was sitting there listening to. Smith admitted the child was sitting there during at least part of that interview.

“You made no effort to interview her alone,” Gorby said about police not speaking to the child without the grandmother present. Smith responded it is not his area of expertise.

When questioned Smith also noted the grandfather was in the hallway, but did not remember if the door was open or shut during that time.

While Smith agreed Curran would have been aware of the allegation of sexual assault before police searched the apartment, he was not able to say Curran would have known about the allegation involving the object until interviewed by police in the hours which followed the search.

The jury trial is set to resume this morning.