ROGERS CITY - Jurors heard testimony from the girl accusing a Hawks man of criminal sexual conduct, and a denial of her accusations from the man himself.
Jeremiah Allen Dewey took the stand in 53rd Circuit Court Tuesday to defend himself against a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He's accused of molesting his girlfriend's teenage daughter on March 21, 2013. Along with his and the daughter's testimony, the court and Judge Scott Pavlich also heard from a psychologist the daughter saw and members of Dewey's family who accused the daughter of telling lies.
The daughter told the court that Dewey had picked her up from sports practice the day of the alleged incident, as her mother was in Alpena and couldn't give her a ride. After picking up her two younger siblings, they went to their home near Hawks. After her shower, she put on some clothes and asked Dewey to stretch her muscles in her room. He'd typically stretch her after sports practice.
The daughter started crying while testifying and Presque Isle County Assistant Prosecutor Melissa Goodrich reminded her to take her time. She continued, saying that after Dewey asked her to kneel against the bed, he began massaging her. He then pulled down her pants and touched her inappropriately. He asked her if she liked it, then asked if she wanted to do it every day. She didn't respond at first.
"I told him, no, that it made me uncomfortable," she said. "He said he understood, but that 'you are special to me,' and that he felt heated when he stretched me."
After Dewey left the room, the daughter said she texted her grandmother, telling her that something had happened and she wanted to go back to Washington. The daughter had moved from there in 2011 to live with her mother and Dewey. The next day, the daughter told her mother by phone what had happened. She asked her mother to talk to Dewey about it later that day. She did, and the daughter went to stay with her mother's friend for a few nights.
In response to Goodrich's questions, the daughter said her mother worked for Dewey's family, that her mother and Dewey's family member co-owned a house together and her grandmother told her she would help her after Dewey helped her move. If he couldn't drive, the grandmother would lose $300.
The daughter told Patrick Crowley, Dewey's attorney, that she had asked the mother about going back to Washington before, but her mother didn't agree. She hadn't discussed it with either her mother or Dewey in the weeks leading up to the alleged incident, and Dewey had never told her she couldn't go. The daughter didn't think her mother would believe her, but not because she had a history of lying.
Crowley also asked her to retell what happened that day, and questioned her testimony about what Dewey allegedly told her about becoming heated. She'd never said so before in court, Crowley said, to which the daughter replied she'd told someone else and got confused. He also questioned an agreement the mother and daughter had made before the daughter moved back. The two had agreed the daughter wouldn't be alone with Dewey because he made her uncomfortable, according to earlier testimony from her mother, although Crowley said Dewey and the daughter had been alone before in a vehicle.
In response to a question from a juror, the daughter said she asked Dewey to stretch her muscles in her room that day because he'd done it before and she'd grown to trust him.
"I never had a father, and I thought he would actually be my father," she said.
Goodrich asked the daughter if she knew the difference between the truth and a lie. She responded yes, and that she didn't make the allegation up to go back to Washington and isn't living there now. While she doesn't remember every single detail of that day, her allegation about the inappropriate touching never changed from previous testimony and interviews with officials.
Dewey told a different account of that day. He said his family notified him that his girlfriend's daughter, whom he considers to be his own, needed a ride, not the daughter as she testified. At home while he stretched her muscles in her room, she asked him when they could fix up her closet. She also asked about going back to Washington for a visit, and he told her she should ask her mother. Dewey told her about a project he had in mind involving solar panels, and offered to read her an article relating to it. She said yes, so he got the article and read it.
Dewey denied he ever massages the daughter, or pulled her pants down or touched her inappropriately. He denied molesting her when asked by her mother on the same day the mother heard the accusation.
"I was just in awe that this was happening, I couldn't believe that (the daughter) would say this about me," he said.
The daughter and Dewey also were alone a few times before the day of the alleged incident, he said. Dewey wasn't aware of the agreement she had with her mother.
Mary Lamb told the court her daughter had gone to school with the daughter making the accusation. She said the daughter accusing Dewey is known to be "very manipulative," and to tell lies.
Ann Dewey, Mary's sister and Jeremiah's mother, also testified she couldn't take what the daughter said at face value. Ann Dewey said she had been seeing the girl on a near-daily basis, and considers the daughter to be her grandchild although the mother and Jeremiah are not married.
Lisa Spomer, Jeremiah's sister, said she also saw the girl often, and also believes the girl tells lies. Spomer said she, Lamb and Jeremiah work for the Dewey family.
The court heard from Dr. Kelly Baskind about an appointment she had with the daughter. She, her mother and Spomer came to her office in Saginaw. Her referral paperwork states the reason was to discuss bullying and made no mention of issues with truthfulness or molestation. After the daughter asked to speak with Baskind alone, she told her she'd been molested by her mother's boyfriend. She said she was scared it would happen again, and scared it would happen to her sister.
Baskind told the girl she had to report the allegation, and Baskind told her mother the same after speaking to the girl, she said.
The trial is set to resume today, and both the defense and prosecution are expected to give their closing statements.