It was a very emotional day in the court room for all parties involved. Both of the young girls involved in the case, and their mothers, testified today in front of a jury. As they re-counted what they say happened, it was clearly difficult for everyone to hear. Donald Hughes' two step-granddaughters, ages 10 and 12 years old, said Hughes touched them in ways that made them feel uncomfortable and in inappropriate places. One of the girls said to the jury that she asked Hughes to stop when he was doing this, at which time he told her to be quiet, that it was a secret. The girls accused Hughes of this behavior from November 2009 until April 2011, at which point they notified an adult. Then, a state investigator got involved.
The defense tried to convince the jury today that Donald Hughes had a close, but healthy relationship with one of the girls involved. The mother of that girl says Hughes helped her and her family in a time of financial need. On day one of the trial, Defense Attorney Richard Bach used that information as part of his opening statement. He also questioned the credibility of the girls' and their claims yesterday. Investigators say there's a protocol for questioning children in these cases:" to try and interview the child one time away from parents or anyone who might have associated with the case," says State Police Investigator Andrew Wilmot, "to try and interview the child once to avoid any kind of trauma with their disclosure and the nature of the incident."
Today the prosecution played an audio recording of a phone call between Hughes and the mother of one of the girls just after the claims were made. Here is a compilation of what was said:
Mother: "Why them why my babies? She loves you so much how could you do that to her?"
Hughes: "Tell me the story I don't know what you're talking about...Sometimes my hands go in the wrong spot I don't do this on purpose... I wouldn't hurt the girls I would never hurt the girls."
The trial is set to pick up on Wednesday, January 11th, when the prosecution will begin by playing a recording of Hughes being questioned by the investigator.