Witness freezes on stand in unlawful sex case

A teenager who was allegedly a victim of unlawful sexual intercourse at a police station froze during her testimony yesterday and refused to answer any questions about the incident.

The 14-year-old is the virtual complainant against Dwayne Decosta, a former reserve sergeant accused of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.

Prosecutors allege that Decosta sexually abused the girl, then 13, while she was at East Street South Police Station on July 14, 2018 for safekeeping.

Decosta, who is on bail, has denied the charge at his trial before Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson.

The timid witness told the court that on the morning in question her mother dropped her to her father’s home around 6 a.m. after she spilled water in her mother’s bed.

The witness did not say whether she went inside or whether she saw her father.

The eighth grader, her voice barely a whisper, said her father’s neighbor took her to the police station and left.

The station’s commander, Superintendent Roberto Goodman, has previously testified that the child was at the station until police contacted a guardian.

When Jacqueline Burrows, the prosecutor, asked, “What happened in relation to the matter that you told the police about what happened at the station?”

The teen replied, “Nothing.”

Burrows pressed, “Tell us what happened.”

But the witness didn’t respond.

Grant-Thompson intervened, asking, “Do you need a moment?”

The witness replied, “No ma’am.”

Once again, Burrows asked, “What, if anything, happened while at the station?”

After a minute of silence, Burrows said, “You have to answer the question.”

The court granted a 15-minute adjournment and when the trial resumed, Burrows asked the witness to view surveillance footage of the station’s reception area.

In the grainy footage, several people are in the reception area. At one point, a figure appeared at the door and then a person got up from their seat and went outside.

Burrows asked, “Tell us what just happened in the video.”

The witness refused to answer.

Burrows asked, “Where were you?”

Again, silence.

The judge intervened again and asked the witness if she intended to answer any of the questions posed by the prosecutor.

The witness said, “No ma’am.”

Burrows asked for another adjournment, saying, “The witness is having some challenges giving her evidence.”

Decosta’s lawyer, Murrio Ducille, objected to the statement.

He said, “The prosecutor cannot conjecture and give her opinion.”

The case resumes on August 26 at 11 a.m.

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Artesia Davis

Artesia primarily covers court stories, but she also writes extensively about crime.

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