With her voice clear and demeanor composed, a mother testified Wednesday about the sexual assault of her 2-year-old daughter, which was recorded on video.
The mother told the jury in the trial of the assault suspect, Chester Stiles, that she learned of the incident through friends who saw her daughter’s televised image in September 2007. The captured stills were taken from video that authorities allege show Stiles sexually assaulting the girl.
At the time, the girl’s identity was not known.
The young mother said she did not immediately recognize her daughter because the image quality was so poor. But, she said, she recognized the dress her daughter wore. The girl’s grandmother had bought it for her.
The mother, now 24, was 19 when the incident happened in Las Vegas in 2003. She said she was living with a friend and working at a casino and at a pizza restaurant. She typically worked from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
During the day, her daughter was watched by a roommate. The roommate’s mother, Tina Allen, was Stiles’ girlfriend, and she brought Stiles over to the apartment, authorities said.
The girl, now 8, has no memory of the sexual assault, said the mother, who remained poised while giving testimony but began crying outside the courtroom.
Stiles faces more than 20 counts of sexual assault and lewdness with a minor. His trial, which started Monday, is expected to last more than a week.
If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Among the evidence prosecutors will present is the videotape they allege shows Stiles sexually assaulting the girl.
Nye County Detective David Boruchowitz told the jury the assailant is heard calling the girl by her name on the video.
On Wednesday morning, District Judge Jennifer Togliatti ruled that the public could not view the video when it’s shown to the jury.
The tape will be shown in court with barriers placed around the screen to prevent the public from seeing it.
Through a spokesman, Togliatti said that the video is graphic and that she wanted to cut down on distractions.
The man who found the videotape in the desert near Pahrump, Darrin Tuck, testified Wednesday that he discovered it while riding his motorcycle. He said he did not turn it over for about six months because he was afraid he would get in trouble with the police.
Tuck said he was using methamphetamines regularly, which contributed to his bad decisions.
“If you found child porn, wouldn’t you be a little scared too?” Tuck said.
After finding the tape, he took it home and eventually watched it. He said he viewed only a few minutes of the tape before burying it in the yard.
He said he turned it over to police after his father took him to see a preacher.
Nye County police charged Tuck with possession of child pornography and arrested him. He pleaded guilty to obstructing a police officer and was given probation.
Contact reporter David Kihara at email@example.com or 702-380-1039.