The teenager who accused a former Las Vegas police Explorer of a years-long sexual relationship with her changed her story on the stand this week.
“It’s something really embarrassing to come out here and admit that I made all of it up,” she told jurors Friday in Clark County District Court.
She began her testimony Thursday, telling the court “there were a lot of details that I made up in order to make this believable.”
In 2015, the girl said she and Joshua Honea, 24, maintained a four-year sexual relationship that started when she was 11. He faces over 50 charges, including kidnapping and lewdness with a child.
“The state’s primary witness has sort of dropped a bomb,” one of Honea’s attorneys, Jonathan MacArthur, told the Review-Journal.
The Review-Journal is not naming the girl — who wore a blue jumpsuit and handcuffs in court — because she was a minor when the alleged relationship took place.
According to court documents, she lives on the streets and is addicted to heroin. She has been in jail since Monday on a “material witness warrant” because prosecutors said they feared she would not make an appearance in court.
Monique McNeill, another Honea attorney, said Honea and the girl had a “brother and sister” relationship that fell apart after the aspiring police officer tried to intervene in her abuse of drugs and alcohol.
Honea was targeted as a whisteblower in the Metropolitan Police Department, which then investigated rumors that Honea had an inappropriate relationship with the girl, MacArthur said. Police told the girl that Honea could get her mother in trouble with child protective services, which is why she reported the alleged relationship, MacArthur said.
McNeill said in court the girl was angry with Honea for violating her confidence. The girl posted on social media: “‘I thought I could trust you but your words and your actions showed me that I can’t.’”
“Then she does what? She calls the police,” McNeill said. “You’ve got to discredit the whisteblower.”
Honea was in a police program that encourages a career in law enforcement and teaches young Las Vegans the basics of policing. He also volunteered in the Metropolitan Enterprise Area Command.
Prosecutors argued the girl changed her story after being visited in jail by defense attorneys on Tuesday.
In 2015, the then 16-year-old girl told detectives she once loved Honea, and that she “wasn’t mature enough to understand” and “it’s not OK now,” prosecutor Stacey Kollins said.
She told jurors that Honea and the girl met at her middle school, where he was a counselor.
“It’s flirtatious. She’s flattered, she’s interested,” Kollins said. “It is welcomed by this 11-year-old child.”
They exchanged nude pictures and began Skyping, texting and calling. He started asking “for more,” Kollins said.
The girl in 2015 accurately described to police Honea’s genitals, and said she was “too little” for Honea when she tried to lose her virginity, details that were too specific to be lies, Kollins said in court Thursday.
“Since you’re making up this story, why wouldn’t you just say ‘the first time, the sex worked?’” Kollins asked.
The girl responded, “The more details, the better.”
Contact Briana Erickson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5244. Follow @brianarerick on Twitter.