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  • Teen enters trial for alleged incest in La Plata County

    A trial began Monday for a teen suspected of sexually assaulting his half sister in La Plata County.

    The boy is charged with aggravated incest. Juveniles found guilty of incest can face a range of penalties, from supervision to incarceration in a youth detention center, and may have to register as sex offenders.

    Prosecutors said the boy was 16 years old when he allegedly had inappropriate sexual contact with an 8-year-old girl.

    The girl reported the assaults July 18, 2012, in a handwritten letter to her mother. The assaults may have been occurring for a couple of years before the girl reported them, said deputy District Attorney Eric Simonton, during opening statements.

    The teen denies any wrongdoing.

    His public-defense lawyer, Sean Murray, said the girl has made a lot of allegations against her half brother, but there are no witnesses and there is no physical evidence to corroborate her story. Adults were several feet away in a different room during one alleged assault, yet no one heard the girl scream for help, he told jurors.

    Murray faulted investigators and prosecutors for failing to try to collect physical evidence, including performing a rape exam on the girl.

    The girl, who is now 9, took the witness stand Monday.

    She said her half brother touched her inappropriately, but she didnít give specifics about the type of assaults.

    Defense lawyers declined to cross examine her.

    The trial is being overseen by District Judge Jeffrey Wilson. It is expected to conclude today or Wednesday. Seven people are serving on the jury, including one alternate.

    shane@durangoherald.com

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