Sex abuse trial begins

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The jury trial of a 32-year-old Coeur d’Alene man accused of giving gonorrhea to a child after repeated sexual encounters started Tuesday in Coeur d’Alene and is expected to last at least a week.

Corey S. McGrath faces up to life behind bars for two counts of lewd and lascivious conduct stemming from alleged sexual encounters with two children.

Police were alerted to the case last year after clinical tests showed a 5-year-old girl tested positive for gonorrhea. The child told police that McGrath had repeatedly touched her. An investigation led to another alleged victim, also a minor girl, according to court records.

Defense attorneys on Tuesday in First District Court accused social workers and child advocates, the first witnesses called to testify before the jury, of coaching the children.

Deputy public defender Jay Logsdon grilled Kayla Ellis of Idaho Health and Welfare, who maintained that she did not advise the children to take a stance against McGrath or assist the children to testify against McGrath.

“I would never do that,” Ellis said. “There wouldn’t be a motivation.”

Janet Pace, a forensic interviewer who handles child cases, said children sometimes do not immediately come forward to report abuse because they have been threatened, bribed or they fear their accusations will not be believed.

“Also, there is a lot of shame and humiliation,” Pace said. “With younger children it can be very difficult for them to articulate.”

McGrath became the lead suspect in the investigation that began last October after refusing to be tested for gonorrhea.

Although McGrath has pleaded not guilty to the two felony charges, he was bound over to district court in November after a preliminary hearing in which both children testified against him.

At the preliminary hearing, one of the children explained how McGrath would take his clothing off and touch her while touching himself, which is one of the ways that gonorrhea is contracted.

Another child also testified that McGrath abused her.

McGrath, a construction worker, was arrested in October. He posted a $100,000 bond to secure his release.

The trial, which resumes today, is expected to last five days. Attorneys expected at least 40 hours of testimony.

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