Boy takes stand against accused abuser
May 8, 2003
A 5-year-old boy testified at the start of Wednesday’s trial for Rudolph Steele that he was molested several times and told to keep it secret by a trusted family friend.
Steele, shaved and dressed in a gray collared shirt, sat silently next to attorney Lori London while the child spoke of what allegedly happened last summer at Steele’s residence on Player Drive.
“Did Rudy ever show you his ‘dink-dink’?” asked Deputy District Attorney Lisa Serafini, assisting colleague Peter O’Hara.
“Yes, he did and he made me put my mouth on it,” the boy answered. “Dink-dink” was referenced in court and substituted for penis because it’s the child’s term.
The boy said Steele sodomized him and performed oral sex. The two took baths and slept naked in Steele’s bed, the boy said.
During a sometimes difficult interview, attorneys for both sides attempted to lure specifics from the child, who hid behind his hands and whispered to himself while trying to recall the past.
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London addressed the jury of nine women and three men during opening statements, saying the boy was cornered one August night and told his relentless mother what she wanted to hear: that Steele molested him.
London felt it suspicious that the mother didn’t call authorities until five days after the disclosure.
“Mom doesn’t call the police,” London said. “Mom doesn’t call (child protective services.) Mom doesn’t call the women’s center. Mom doesn’t do anything.”
Steele is charged with nine counts including sodomy, oral copulation, continuous sexual abuse of a child and intending to infect another.
He was being held on $210,000 bail in El Dorado County Jail. He faces a maximum of 23 years in state prison and chemical castration if convicted.
Before the boy testified, Betty Wilson, a Barton Memorial Hospital nurse, said the boy’s anus had a small tear and stretch scars typical of penetration.
London did not have a chance to cross-examine Wilson as the nurse was excused during the prosecution’s turn so the boy could testify.
Trial resumes 9 a.m. Monday at El Dorado County Superior Court.
— E-mail William Ferchland at firstname.lastname@example.org