County rape trial enters second week

The jury trial began Wednes?day in the Marion County District Court involving three Peabody residents charged with the rape of a 14-year-old girl.

The defendants, Terry Lee Bowen, 64, Lora J. Gay, 39, and Kenneth J. Frederick, 22, are each charged with two counts of rape and one count each of aggravated criminal sodomy, aggravated kidnapping and battery.

Frederick and Gay are additionally charged with criminal threat.

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Opening arguments

During opening arguments, Kansas Assistant Attorney General Charles Klebe of Topeka talked about a ?terrible tragedy? that occurred to a then 14-year-old eighth-grade student, who the Free Press has chosen not to name.

The incident began with $20, according to Klebe.

?For some people, $20 may not go far enough,? he said. ?For one girl, it cost her (a reduced quality of) life.?

?It happened a year ago this week,? Klebe added.

After the victim?s father, Jimmie Thouvenell, had lost his job, his daughter wanted to make extra money.

Klebe told the jury Thouve?nell knew Bowen, who ran a mechanic shop and owned a couple of houses, one at 508 Locust and the other at 702 Locust.

Bowen wanted to fix up the 702 Locust house, and hired the victim to help with that project between June 22 and June 28.

Klebe said Lora Gay, who was formerly Lora Frederick and mother to Kenneth Frederick, grew up in Peabody, but had lived in Georgia before returning to Peabody about a year ago.

Following her return, Klebe said, Gay and Bowen started a relationship.

?Kenneth Frederick,? he said, ?was her first born and lived here, in Missouri and Georgia, and he came back to help Mr. Bowen.?

Key date

Klebe said a key date for the jury to remember was July 13, which was the first time the victim and her mother, Edna Burgdoff, spoke to Peabody Police Chief Bruce Burke.

Almost three weeks after the incident happened, the victim told Burke she was raped?first with Frederick holding her down, then with Bowen holding her down, Klebe said.

?She was violated after her second day of work,? Klebe said.

The day of the attack, the victim cited two specific dates she thought it occurred, June 23 and June 24.

Prior to the rape, Frederick allegedly asked the victim if she was hungry, and together they left the house and went to Bowen?s house at 508 Locust for lunch.

The victim was sitting on the couch in the living room watching television while Frederick made chili, he said.

In her interview with Burke, the victim said Frederick told her lunch was ready.

?She said she got up and went to the restroom and went back to the couch,? Burke testified.

According to the victim, Bowen and Gay came through the rear door and Gay went into what was called the computer room.

The victim, Burke said, told him Bowen went to the front door and stood in front of the television while Frederick was still in the kitchen.

Burke testified she told him Bowen and Frederick picked her up by her arms and drug her into the bedroom. Frederick held one of her arms down with one hand and put the other over mouth.

?She told me he removed his pants and underwear and he raped her approximately four minutes,? Burke said.

The two men then switched places and Frederick raped her about three minutes.

After the incident, Burke testified the victim said she went to the front door, which was locked, unlocked it and her step-father, Thouvenell, was standing in the doorway.

During cross-examination, David Harger, Bowen?s attorney, asked if the victim left at that point.

?No,? he said.

?Why not?? Harger asked.

?She said she heard a voice from the computer room and went toward the computer room where someone called her name,? Burke said. ?Kenneth told her several times that if she said anything to anyone, ?we will kill you.??

Burke said the victim then said she left with her stepfather, but did not say anything about what had happened to her.

Following her first interview with Burke, the victim eventually met with a sexual assault nurse and child advocate, and was interviewed a second time by Burke.

In each interview, the victim?s version of events changed.

Cross-examinations

Through his questioning, Harger worked to paint Burke as someone who did not do enough follow-up on the incident nor compile adequate notes.

Some examples included testimony about how Burke sent home forms for the victim, her mother, stepfather and stepbrother Jack Chilcott to fill out and return later.

Harger asked Burke if his notes consisted of about 3.5 inches by 6 inches of typed notes.

?During the entire course of this investigation?with three defendants and multiple rape allegations and interviews with victims?these are all the notes you have?? Harger asked.

?Pretty close,? Burke said.

Gay?s attorney, Gary Price of McPherson, asked, ?Is it a fair statement that on July 13, (the victim) knew you were initiating a criminal investigation??

?What do you mean?? Burke replied.

?Did you tell her you were going to investigate this??

?Yes,? Burke said.

?At the time she was making statements to you (in the first interview),? Price said, ?she knew those statements were incorrect.?

?I would think so,? Burke said, referring to subsequent interviews naming Gay as one of the perpetrators and Bowen committing oral sex as well as intercourse.

Reviewing the victim?s testimony at her July 16 interview with Wilma Mueller, a social worker with the Heart to Heart Child Advocacy Center in Newton, Price asked Burke about Gay?s role in the alleged rapes.

?Was the information the victim provided to those inquiries on July 16 very different from what she told you July 21 (the second interview with Burke)?? Price asked. ?In the child advocacy interview, the victim was asked about Gay?s role and whether she ever touched her??

?Yes,? Burke responded.

?And she specifically responded to that question that Lora never touched her?? Price asked.

?I am not sure,? Burke said.

?Unlike statements made at the Peabody Police Depart?ment,? Price said, ?statements made (at the child advocacy center) are video-recorded.?

After refreshing Burke?s memory with the transcript, Price again asked about his client?s role and whether she touched the victim.

?She said no,? Burke said.

?Five days later, the victim came to your office and told you the exact opposite?? he asked.

?Yes,? Burke said.

?When (the victim) came to your office with the latest version of her story July 21, were you concerned about the changes in her story?? Price asked.

?Yes,? Burke said.

?Did you make notes about that conversation?? Gay?s attorney asked.

?Yes,? he said.

?Did you schedule a follow-up interview with Child Advocacy to have (the victim) give this additional information??

?No,? Burke said.

?You said you relied on (the Child Advocacy Center to handle the investigation), but when the story changed so dramatically to add another perpetrator, you didn?t call them?? Price said.

?No,? Burke said.

?Instead, did you simply thank her for telling you the whole truth?? Price asked.

?I don?t remember what I told (the victim) at the conclusion of the July 21 interview,? Burke said.

In addition to questioning Burke?s notes, all three defense attorneys asked the police chief why he didn?t ask the stepfather more about the victim?s demeanor after the attack?whether the victim was crying, showing bruises, cuts, scrapes, or other injuries.

Burke said he did not ask those questions.

Price said DNA from the three defendants, hair, sheet, pillowcases, piece of a mattress, bath towel, wash cloth and a few other items, did not match up with any of the clothing worn by the victim.

?Correct,? Burke said.

The state?s case

The 12-member jury and two alternates comprised of nine men and five women heard Klebe outline the state?s case against the three defendants.

He called Holly Pham, a sexual assault nurse at Via-Christi St. Joseph Hospital, to describe the victim?s injuries.

The team caring for the victim included health care providers, advocacy programs, law enforcement agencies, the prosecutor?s office and other professionals who would serve the victim in dealing with sexual assault.

Mueller testified about her interview with the child, and provided a tape of a one-hour meeting with her.

Robert Jacobs of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation was expected to take the stand Mon?day to provide bank records and testify about what Gay spent her money on and whether that would match the account given to Jacobs in an earlier interview, Klebe said.

The young victim also took the stand to recount what happened to her.

Following Klebe?s opening argument, Harger said his client is innocent.

?I saw the disgusted looks (on your faces),? he said, ?but Terry Bowen didn?t do this.?

Harger said no one is exactly sure when the alleged rape happened and it wasn?t reported until almost three weeks later.

Harger said the victim will contend that Bowen hit her in the face, but when her step-father came to the door minutes after the alleged rape, he didn?t notice any evidence of bruises, cuts or that she had been crying.

Harger said he planned to call a gynecologist to testify about the victim?s physical condition and timelines associated with it.

He also would talk about Bowen?s physical limitations, specifically an inguinal hernia, which occurs in the groin, that required him to use a truss.

?We ask that (the jury) keep an open mind,? Harger said.

Attorney Donald Snapp of Newton, representing Frederick, asked the jury to hear the evidence and consider the credibility of the victim.

Price reminded the jury in his opening remarks that the burden of proof is on the state. He said there was no mention of his client in the first interview with Burke. But in the second interview July 16, he said Gay was first mentioned as ?standing in the doorway? while Bowen and Frederick allegedly raped the youth.

?Five days after the second interview,? Price said, ?(the victim) was back with Burke and the story changed again.?

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At press time, the state planned to call three other witnesses. Updates on the trial and possible verdict will be reported at hillsborofreepress.com.

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