Testimony continues in molestation case
Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 14, 2016
Reporter’s note: The names of the victims and family members testifying on their behalf are withheld to protect their identity.
LaGRANGE — Day two of the trial against accused child molester Celestino “Hector” Acuña-Martinez, 41, started Wednesday morning with video testimony from the victims, 9 and 11 years old, plus alleged witnesses to the crime.
After the videos were played, Troup County Senior Assistant District Attorney Lynda Caldwell had nurse Kathy Cooley take the stand.
Cooley is a licensed sexual assault practitioner and examined the 9- and 11-year-old girls one day after they reported the alleged abuse. She testified, in her experience, the 9-year-old girl did show signs of a sexual assault.
The little girl told a counselor at the Troup County Child Advocacy Center via recorded video interview the abuse had occurred the day before the exam took place, March 13, 2015.
Cooley also stated she did notice some unusual findings in the 11-year-old victim as well.
But Martinez’ defense attorney, Julianne Lynn, was not satisfied with the nurse’s explanation of how she determined the girls had been sexually assaulted, specifically since Cooley knew about the case ahead of the examinations.
“Take the 9 year old’s history out of the equation. Just look at the physical evidence. Does it show abuse?” Lynn asked Cooley.
“No,” she admitted. “But that’s why we take a medical history … she could’ve fallen straddling a tub … everything depends on that history. What that child tells us.”
LaGrange Police Detective Jason Duncan stated he collected two bedroom comforters and clothing, and took swabs from areas inside the house to be tested at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab. He said no evidence of male DNA was found on the items or the 9-year-old victim during her physical exam.
The detective testified data extracted from Martinez’ cellphone showed searches to pornographic material and a website with titles that sounded like child pornography.
Lynn asked the detective if he knew what was on those sites Martinez allegedly visited. He admitted he did not.
“I don’t know … I don’t visit those sites … but one can assume that these websites can have adult porn on it, not just children’s porn, right,” she asked Duncan.
“Yes,” he stated.
Duncan stated Martinez’ cellphone also showed several calls between the defendant and the 11-year-old victim, plus text messages. He read the messages out loud to the jury. None of them contained any inappropriate language or context.
LaGrange police polygraph examiner Greg Corbett told the jury he administered a lie detector test to Martinez, who failed the polygraph.
Media and others not directly involved in the case were barred from the courtroom when both victims and two children allegedly present during some of the abuse testified.
The state rested its case Wednesday.
The defense was expected begin its case Thursday morning.
Martinez is charged with four counts of child molestation, two counts of rape, two counts of false imprisonment, two counts of aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy and enticing a child for indecent purposes.