Notes on Day 2 of Myers Park High trial
Jury hears from accuser's mom; 'Jane Doe' to testify this morning at 9:30; WBTV reporter's request shot down by judge; Sketch artist is almost too good
As a bonus for our loyal community of paying members, this is an EXTRA EDITION of The Charlotte Ledger newsletter, with news and insights on the Myers Park High sexual assault trial that started Tuesday. In the case, a former Myers Park student alleges officials with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department mishandled her report of being sexually assaulted by a fellow student in 2015.
Trial extra: Accuser’s mom recounts frantic morning; Jane Doe testimony expected today; WBTV shot down by judge; Sketch artist almost too good; Which side will win?
Wednesday’s highlights: Mom testifies she was ‘stunned’ after morning text barrage
Following Tuesday’s opening statements, one of the highlights of the trial on Wednesday was hearing from accuser Jane Doe’s mom, who is being referred to in court as “Mrs. Doe.” She said she’s a military veteran who served in Yugoslavia and is now a therapist who has worked with sexual assault victims.
She described being “stunned” on the morning of Nov. 3, 2015, when she started receiving text messages from her daughter around 7:18 a.m.: “Mom I’m being kidnapped … Call somebody. Don’t call me. … Mom Fr [for real] don’t call me. I’m scared.”
She testified that she tried to find her daughter, who texted that she was on Hassell Place, a residential street off Selwyn Avenue. But she couldn’t find her, and school resource officer Bradley Leak and assistant principal Anthony Perkins located her first.
When she went to the school and reunited with her daughter, she insisted that they go to the hospital for a sexual assault exam. At that point, school administrators and the school resource officer had not talked extensively with Jane Doe about what happened. But Leak had seen Jane Doe and the male student walking away from school that morning as he was directing traffic, and Leak seemed to believe the two had been cutting class.
Mrs. Doe described her frustration that the school and Leak didn’t seem to believe her daughter was assaulted, and she went to the police station to file a report on the advice of a lawyer. But police, she testified, didn’t want to take her daughter’s statement, saying she had already talked to Leak.
On cross examination, CMS lawyer Terry Wallace seemed to try to characterize Doe’s mom as commandeering the process and frustrating the investigation — the one the family now says was botched — by refusing to allow her daughter to talk further with Leak and school officials. She also testified that she told the school’s principal, Mark Bosco, via email that she didn’t want to know the results of the school’s investigation — which she said she believed was predetermined.
Asked why she consulted a lawyer so soon after the incident, she said she wanted advice on making sure the case was prosecuted. Asked if she was advised to take the story public, she said the unnamed lawyer told her: “If they don’t file the [police] report, you should go nuclear and call the media.” WBTV first reported the alleged attack about two weeks later.
She testified that she has never talked to her daughter about the events of that morning because “I wanted her to come to me when she was ready. … I told my daughter ‘I love you, and I believe you.’”
Other testimony: The jury also heard Wednesday from …
the sexual assault nurse examiner who examined Jane Doe at CMC-Pineville (now Atrium Health Pineville) and took her statement of what happened, in which the girl described the event as a forcible assault
a worker with Communities in Schools who first learned of a rape report by another student, identified as Jill Roe, and passed the information along
a CMPD major who used to head the force’s violent crimes unit, who testified that “be on the lookout,” or BOLO alerts, are sometimes used in kidnapping cases (though one was not in this case)
the deposition of former Myers Park Principal Mark Bosco, in which he said he “wanted Officer Leak to be a little more aggressive in enforcing the law” and be “more of a go-getter,” especially on the issue of fights at school
an expert in child abuse and sexual assault, who said that Jane Doe displays the characteristics of a sexual assault victim, and that such victims can suffer long-term mental and physical health problems
Coming today: Testimony from Jane Doe, start of defense case?
Up until now, jurors have heard from people on the periphery of the events of Nov. 3, 2015. That changes this morning, with Jane Doe herself expected to testify starting at 9:30. Lawyers indicated that she’s the final plaintiff’s witness.
She’s sure to be questioned on her version of events that she is characterizing as a kidnapping and sexual assault — and how it might differ from her previous descriptions, and how it fits in with texts and WhatsApp messages she was sending at the time. In court documents, lawyers for the defense have previously theorized that Jane Doe concocted a story about being kidnapped “after she realized she was going to get in trouble for skipping school” with an 18-year-old senior known as “Q.W.”
One key point will be her interactions with school resource officer Bradley Leak and with assistant principal