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YOUNGSTOWN 7-year-old gives account of rape

Saturday, January 31, 2004

The victim was reluctant to tell jurors what happened that night.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Tears welled in the little girl's eyes as she told 12 total strangers of the night the man she calls "Chipper" burst into her bedroom, raped her, then went downstairs and made himself a sandwich.
The girl's mother, sitting in the back of the room, put her head down and squeezed her fists tightly as she listened.
"It felt hurt," the little girl said softly, explaining how she felt when she was assaulted.
Then she pointed across the courtroom to where 26-year-old Richard Ronnel Moore was sitting and said he was the man who did it.
Moore, of East Judson Avenue, is on trial in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on a rape charge. The girl, who was 6 at the time, said she was visiting with Moore the night she was raped in July 2003. The two are related.
The victim, now 7, walked into the courtroom Wednesday shyly, with her head bowed and following closely behind assistant prosecutor Dawn Krueger. She climbed into the witness chair and immediately grabbed a tissue from a box beside Judge James C. Evans.
Establishing credibility
For several minutes, the girl answered questions from Krueger aimed at establishing that she knows right from wrong and that she was fit to testify in such a serious proceeding.
With two of her hair braids dangling in her face, the girl told jurors her age, where she goes to school, her teacher's name and her siblings' names and ages.
She said she knows the alphabet but didn't want to say it out loud. She did, though, count to 20 and say that she knows the difference between truth and lies.
"If you lie, you get in big trouble," she said, getting laughs from the six male and six female jurors.
When Krueger asked the girl to tell jurors what happened the night she was raped, the girl paused and put her head down.
"I don't want to talk about that," she said softly, rubbing her eyes.
Her account
Eventually, she said Moore, who she knew only as Chipper, kicked open her bedroom door and walked into the room wearing only dark-colored boxer underwear. He got on top of her, put one hand over her mouth and told her he would kill her mother if she told anyone what happened, the girl said.
Dressed in a long gray dress and black boots, the girl reluctantly told jurors that Moore assaulted her three times before leaving to go to the bathroom, and then went downstairs for a sandwich as she lay crying in her bed.
"I could hear him chopping things" for a sandwich, she said.
The victim said there were two other young girls in the room with her, including one who was near her in the bed. Neither girl woke up during the assault, and neither was touched by Moore, she said.
The girl said that when she fell asleep that night, "I was dreaming that he won't kill mom."
During cross-examination by defense attorney Miriam M. Ocasio, the girl said her favorite colors are blue, red, white and pink.
"I like how they shine," she said.
The girl told Ocasio that she loves her mother and would do or say anything her mother told her to. But she told Krueger later that she would not lie for her mother and that she was not lying about what happened.
"Yes," she said emphatically when Krueger asked whether everything she said on the witness stand was true.
The trial was to continue today. If Moore is convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison without parole.