Testimony Continues in Curry Child Sex Trial

curry-mugCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – The second day of the Thomas Curry trial in Clarion featured testimony from the defendant, the victim, the victim’s father, and the forensic nurse that interviewed the victim.

UPDATE: Curry Found Not Guilty on all charges

Curry faces multiple charges alleging that he sexually assaulted, raped, and threatened the victim while she was living at his residence in Rimersburg.

Prior to the victim’s testimony, several items were introduced into evidence that were agreed upon by both Clarion County Assistant District Attorney Drew Welsh and Defense Attorney Gary Gerson.

The documents included indoor and outdoor photos of the Curry residence and documentation of when the victim had a chipped tooth repaired, as well as her admittance to several psychiatric facilities in western Pennsylvania.

They paint a sad picture of a young girl who was removed from her drug-addicted mother’s home by Butler County Children and Youth Services and placed into the care of the Curry’s because her father could not take care of her due to a state prison sentence for a burglary conviction.

She was also separated from her half-brother and half-sister who lived with her in her mother’s home in Butler.

The victim was back and forth between her mother’s home and Curry’s residence as well as spending time at Children’s Hospital; Western Pa. Psychiatric Hospital; Clarion Psychiatric; Clarion Hospital; and Glade Run. She also spent time at her father’s home after he was released from jail.

The victim “cut” herself at times and suffered from repeated suicide attempts by taking too many prescription medications or by putting a belt around her neck, according to testimony.

At times, her testimony appeared to be inconsistent and conflicting.

At one point, Gerson got the victim to say that Curry had not assaulted her in his home, but then she quickly said that he raped her so violently that she chipped her tooth after her head hit the headboard in one of the upstairs bedrooms of the Curry home.

She also said she didn’t suffer any other facial injuries.

The chipped tooth testimony is important to both sides because of the timeframe when it occurred.

Both sides stipulated that the victim chipped her tooth while shopping at WalMart in late February 2009, nearly two months before she was placed in the Curry home in April 2009.

Under questioning by ADA Welsh, the victim explained her living circumstances at her mother and grandmother’s home in Butler. Her half-siblings also resided there as well as other family members.

After being removed and placed in the Curry home, the victim said she was raped by Curry and forced to perform oral sex on him about three to four times a week.

“There was no one else in the house when it happened, (Mrs. Curry) would be out shopping or with her group (Red Hat),” stated the victim.

“I never told anyone before I told my mom (October 2014) because he threatened to kill my family, and I was scared he would do something.”

Gerson elicited testimony from the victim in an attempt to show that it was virtually impossible for the number of sexual assaults to have happened.

The victim explained that she made friends while she lived in Rimersburg with the Currys, playing sports, staying after school for tutoring sessions, as well as spending some time with both of her parents in the Butler area.

Gerson also got the victim to say she recalled being assaulted by a friend of her mother’s while she lived in Butler.

Under further questioning by Welsh, the victim said she was not allowed to call CYS, but that Mrs. Curry would call for her.

She also said she made false statements about the friend assaulting her.

The girl became emotional as she explained that she didn’t want to see anything bad to happen to her brother and sister.

Fugate, a registered nurse at Punxsutawney Hospital, then gave expert testimony regarding an exam of the victim.

“The actual exam was somewhat limited due to her tenderness. I did a visual exam, which included taking photographs, but she wouldn’t let me go further,” Fugate said. “She grimaced and cried during the exam.”

“I did see a long, linear scar in her vagina area that extended near her anus. The scar could be indicative of trauma, but I can’t say how it happened or by who or when.”

After Fugate gave her testimony, the prosecution rested its case, and Gerson began his defense of Curry.

The first witness Gerson called was the girl’s father. He testified to becoming involved with drugs in his late teens and becoming addicted to Heroin.

He was imprisoned at the State Correctional Institute in Marienville on May 6, 2008, and served until being paroled on August 10, 2010.

The 38-year-old man explained he has been clean from drugs since being jailed and is now a truck driver.

He described a good, normal, loving relationship between the victim and Tom and Pam Curry. He stated that the Currys brought his daughter to see him in prison.

“She had nicknames for them, she had no concerns about living with them,” the father testified.

The girl’s father then described how things were in May/June 2013 when she moved back in with him after he was awarded custody.

“She was very jealous, very possessive. She would make up stories to tell a woman I might be interested in, she would cut herself, pull her hair out, and swallow an entire bottle of pills.”

“She didn’t want me living with another woman, and she moved out in late October 2014 and back in with her mother.”

Angela Chadwell, a daughter of Tom and Pam Curry, testified on her father’s behalf, saying he is “known for being very honest and non-violent.”

“I was relieved when I knew they were going to take care of her. But, she had a reputation for not being honest,” Chadwell said.

Then Pam Curry testified.

“When (the victim) moved in, she was very fearful and clingy. She slept downstairs on a couch in a sitting room,” Pam said. “We had hoped she would sleep upstairs…but she wouldn’t because she was scared to be alone.”

“She and I shared the upstairs bathroom, but I don’t recall her sleeping upstairs.”

Tom Curry and his wife slept downstairs after they had their home remodeled in 2001, so he wouldn’t have to go up and down the stairs as much.

Curry, who used to work for Conrail, suffered a disabling back injury in a fall at work in 1995.

Pam also stated that Tom was injured in a motorcycle crash in March 2016.

Then, it was Tom Curry’s turn to testify.

“We knew it would be a hardship,” he said when describing having the victim move into the home in Rimersburg where he and his wife have lived since 1975.

“We’d been empty nesters for a long time, but we knew it was the right thing to do,” Tom Curry said.

He described the relationship between him and the victim as loving but distant.

“We didn’t spend much time together,” he said.

He also testified that he never owned a long gun (referenced in the victim’s statement earlier in which he allegedly threatened her with a shotgun to her head). And, he said the girl’s mother called him in November 2014 and told him she was going to take him for “everything you’ve got.”

“We tried to give her the best life we could,” Tom Curry said.

Gerson then called two character witnesses for Curry – David Hosey and Nancy Jordan – who both testified to his honest and non-violent nature.

At nearly 5:00 p.m., Senior Judge James Arner said the defense had one more witness to call, and the trial would continue at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday.

Both Welsh and Gerson will have closing statements to make after the final witness testifies, so the jury should be able to begin deliberations sometime Thursday.


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