Alleged victim testifies in sexual abuse trial

-A A +A
By Sarah Bennett

More than two years ago, a girl younger than 12 years old hid two pairs of underwear behind a dresser in her Radcliff home.

On Wednesday, that girl sat on a witness stand in Hardin Circuit Court and watched as a detective wearing yellow gloves pulled two pairs of underwear from evidence containers. The detective passed them to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Teresa Logsdon.

“Do you recognize what I’m holding in my hand?” Logsdon asked the girl, who was the first witness called Wednesday in the jury trial of Jose Vargas.

Crying, the girl placed a hand over her mouth and then said it was her underwear, the same underwear she hid behind her dresser.

Vargas, 36, was indicted in November on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse. He and the girl have a family relationship.

According to the girl’s testimony, Vargas asked her to change into a dress on April 16, 2011. She said she then went into his room where Vargas was lying on the bed.

No penetration is alleged, but the girl said she hid the underwear behind her dresser because she “didn’t want anybody to find them.”

Days after the event, however, the girl said she told her paternal grandmother about the underwear.

The grandmother, whose name is not being published so as to not possibly identify the child, said she collected the underwear from the child in a plastic bag and later handed it over to police.

In her opening statement, Logsdon said police collected DNA, which matches Vargas, from the clothing.

Though the allegations of this nature are “shocking” and “hard to hear,” Vargas’ attorney, public defender David Stewart, told jurors listening to the evidence may lead them to a “much different conclusion.”

Vargas remains lodged at Hardin County Detention Center.

The trial is expected to continue today in Judge Ken Howard’s courtroom.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at 270-505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.