Three Alleged Victims Testify at Natrona County Sex Abuse Trial
Trial began in Natrona County District Court on Monday for a man accused of molesting three young girls over a period of roughly five months last year.
Douglas Clayton Jones faces three counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and three counts of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor. He could face up to 105 years imprisonment if convicted on all charges.
Jones was arrested August 10 after refusing to speak with a detective investigating the case, according to the affidavit.
The three alleged victims -- now seven, eight and 10 years old, respectively -- each took the witness stand Monday afternoon and were questioned about the alleged abuse.
The victims testified that Jones would ask one of them to sit with him in "his favorite chair" -- a red recliner in his living room -- and would place a blanket over himself as well as the girl. He would then allegedly touch the victims inappropriately, often while his wife sat in her own recliner on the other side of a coffee table.
"The defendant convinced three little girls... to keep a secret," Assistant District Attorney Kevin Taheri said during his opening statement Monday. The victims told investigators, and testified at trial Monday, that Jones told them not to tell anyone about the alleged abuse.
But on a camping trip in another county in mid-July, Jones allegedly abused one victim to a further degree when the two were alone in a fifth-wheel trailer. That victim testified that she went in to tell Jones about catching her first two fish, and Jones then sexually abused her.
That victim's mother testified that as she entered the camper, Jones was removing the victim from his lap. The mother testified that she didn't think anything of it at the time, but a short time later, the victim disclosed that Jones had touched her inappropriately.
Another family member soon learned of the child's disclosure, and spoke with her own children about the difference between "good touching" and "bad touching." She then asked her children whether they had anything they wanted to talk about, and the other two alleged victims then reportedly disclosed similar abuse by Jones.
Following testimony by the three alleged victims and their mothers, Taheri called Forensic Interviewer Rosemary Bartle of the Children's Advocacy Project to the witness stand. Court documents detail Bartle's July 27 interview of one alleged victim in the case.
Although the alleged incident during the camping trip occurred in another county and is not charged against Jones in this trial, Natrona County District Court Judge Thomas Sullins allowed the jury to hear testimony regarding the camping trip in order "to explain how the charged crimes came to be reported to law enforcement."
Sullins specifically told the jury that Jones is not to be convicted of any charged crime based solely on testimony pertaining to the camping trip.
Public defender Joseph Cole opted to reserve his opening statement for later in the trial, which is set to run through Wednesday.