Dewey trial continues

ROGERS CITY – Jurors heard the last testimony Thursday in the trial of a Hawks man accused of sexual acts against a young girl.

Two girls claiming to be victims of sexual acts committed by Jeremiah Allen Dewey, 36, testified in 53rd Circuit Court Thursday. Dewey is charged with four counts of criminal sexual conduct for incidents that occurred from 2004 through April 2005. The girl’s four-year-old sister also told several people he touched her while applying medicine.

The young girl testified to the same on Thursday. She said Dewey put medicine on her private area. Her mother had put on medicine in a similar way, but her foster mother had applied it differently. She didn’t remember Dewey putting medicine on her, despite saying a number of times both in court and to investigators that he did. She also didn’t remember anyone telling her that he had.

The teenage girl who accused Dewey of sexual actions when she was five testified, saying Dewey had done it when she was living with him and her family in 2004. They were all living in Dewey’s parents’ house at the time, and Dewey had done it repeatedly. The acts continued after she, Dewey and her family moved into Rogers City.

Dewey opted not to take the stand, something Judge Scott Pavlich advised him he had a right to do. The fact he chose to remain silent can’t be held against him by the jury when deliberating the case, Pavlich said.

In 2005, police and Child Protective Services investigated an allegation against Dewey, eventually closing the case due to lack of evidence. Michigan State Police Trooper Mike Jermeay was involved, and testified that in two different interviews the girl never informed him she’d been molested. In response to a question from Presque Isle County Prosecutor Richard Steiger, Jermeay said she’d never made claims to anyone during the investigation, therefore there was nothing for her to recant like the girl’s mother previously testified she had.

The teenager said Dewey had molested her in 2013, a few years after she’d returned from living out of state for six years. She’d told this to her grandmother and friend, and to her mother a day after the incident. The girl also told a counselor about the recent act, and what Dewey had allegedly done to her as a child.

Presque Isle County sheriff’s Det. Steve Porter primarily handled the investigation of the 2013 incident, and had asked the teenager about the 2005 investigation as well. Some of Porter’s testimony seemed to point to conflicts with what the girl and others said in court.

For one, Porter said the girl told investigators in 2005 that Dewey had abused her, according to what she told him in 2013. The investigators said she did not disclose any abuse in 2005. The girl testified she wasn’t sure the investigators heard her, and Porter said he recalled the diagram did not show where Dewey had allegedly violated her.

For another, the girl told Porter investigators had pointed to a diagram of a person and asked the girl if Dewey had touched her where they were pointing, according to Porter’s testimony. The girl said she’d been asked to point herself, and neither Jermeay nor CPS employee Pam Idema recalled using a diagram when they interviewed her.

Dewey’s sister said she only learned about the earlier investigations after police and CPS closed the investigation in 2005. The girl had told her Dewey had violated her, an allegation the aunt didn’t tell the police about. The aunt said she’d never witnessed, nor was aware of, any sexual abuse committed by Dewey. That’s in apparent contradiction to what the girl testified. She said she had told her aunt in 2005 before anyone else.

Dewey’s sister also said she’d applied medicine to the young girl.

Developmental psychologist Kamala London testified about her extensive studies of children’s memories, how they’re formed and how they can be influenced by outside factors. She’s testified in more than a dozen other trials, but doesn’t actually interview the children who make the claims. Instead, she reviews all the information she can find, especially any recordings or notes from forensic interviews. She offers her opinion and any scientific evidence that may apply to the case. Patrick Crowley, Dewey’s attorney, brought her in as an expert witness to testify on how children can remember things that never occurred.

Children are capable of giving accurate reports of past events, especially when allowed to tell them in their own words, London said. But memories are clearest immediately after the events, and studies have shown that children can be led in a number of ways to incorrectly believe an event had taken place. The false reports these children give can be very hard to tell from accurate ones.

It’s also possible to lead a child during a forensic interview, London said, and other outside factors can lead children into making false statements.

In response to questions from Assistant Prosecutor Melissa Goodrich, London said children are more likely to remember traumatic memories. It’s also possible to lead children to believe a thing didn’t happen when it actually did. London’s studies are mostly conducted in controlled environments, and no test can definitively prove whether a memory is false or not. False memories wouldn’t cause physical manifestations, like a viral infection.

Steiger and Crowley will make their final arguments today, and the jury will begin deliberation as well.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jt_alpenanews. Read his blog, A Snowball’s Chance, at www.thealpenanews.com.