MOULTRIE -- Testimony began Tuesday in the retrial of a 1999 child molestation case.

Last summer, a jury was unable to render a verdict on two counts of child molestation against Joe Van Bolin, Jr., 33, Earl Hall Road. Bolin was acquitted on a rape charge in that trial. He again faces charges of rubbing his penis against the vagina of a female child relative and showing the same girl sexually explicit images on a computer.

This time, Judge Frank Horkan Jr. allowed the state to enter into evidence sexually explicit cartoons taken from the defendant's computer. Judge Harry Jay Altman II, who presided over the first trial, would not allow the prosecution to use them last year.

Some of the seven or so cartoons depicted a sexual relationship between the fictitious George Jetson and his daughter, Judy. Also admitted into evidence were several photographs of people engaged in various sexual acts.

Before the seven-woman and five-man jury came in, defense attorney Ronald Beckstrom argued that the cartoons were meant to be humorous and not sexually stimulating. Beckstrom said the Jetson cartoons were not relevant, because the nature of the relationship depicted in the cartoons was incest and that Bolin and the young girl were not father and daughter.

Yet, in the last trial, it was established through testimony that Bolin was the girl's father figure for several years and was the biological father of her younger half sister. The judge said the cartoons and photos were admissible if they could be linked to the alleged offenses.

Assistant District Attorney Drew Pope told the jury in opening arguments that all they need to convict Bolin is the testimony of one witness -- the alleged victim. The girl, now 12, may take the stand Wednesday.

Beckstrom in his opening arguments implied that Bolin was being set up by the alleged victim's mother because of a custody battle with him over their daughter, the alleged victim's half sister.

Four prosecution witnesses took the stand Tuesday. Two family friends and one social worker testified that the girl, 7 or 8 years old at the time of the alleged offenses, told them that Bolin touched her in a sexual manner and showed her "nasty" images on the computer. All said she was scared of the defendant.

Colquitt County Department of Family and Children Services case worker Kim Willis said that in a December 1999 interview with the alleged victim, the video camera failed and she had to type up notes of the interview the next day from memory. Willis stated that the interview was prior to the establishment of the child advocacy center, which provides a better opportunity to accurately record interviews. DFCS interviewing policies have become more stringent since 1999, she said.

Defense counsel questioned Willis' interviewing methods, suggesting she was asking the girl leading questions relative to any ejaculation from Bolin she might have seen during the alleged abuse. The girl told the case worker she did see some, Willis said.

Defense counsel Michael White questioned the use of anatomically correct dolls in Willis' half-hour interview. Willis said this was DFCS protocol and that she had been trained to use them as an interviewing tool.

Horkan disallowed any reference to the rape acquittal or the previous trial, but the second witness in her testimony began referring to "these trials" and "the last trial" several times before the judge dismissed the jury and brought in the other witnesses, instructing them not to refer to the first trial.

React to this story:


Trending Video

Recommended for you