NEBRASKA CITY – Otoe County Attorney David Partsch called a girl to testify Friday against a Nebraska City preacher charged with nine counts, including sexual assault of a child in 2016.
The girl is not an alleged victim in the current case, but Partsch wants District Judge Julie Smith to allow a jury to hear her testimony. Partsch said the testimony is valid because the girl was about the same age as the alleged victim and had a similar family relationship.
The girl said she was five or six years old when she was sexually assaulted and testified that her assaulter was Larry Mullins, who is now pastor of the Apostolic Christian Ministries of Nebraska City.
Defense attorney Robert Schaefer said the girl’s testimony should not be allowed at trial because her allegations were investigated and Partsch himself made the decision not to file charges.
The girl testified that her family did not believe her when she told them what happened and an investigation was not started until years later, when she finally built the courage to tell her mother in a letter.
Schaefer noted that the girl had written another note saying Mullins did not assault her, but the girl testified Friday that she was six years old and does not remember writing the note. She said the note seems like her handwriting, but is probably the construction of her family members that did not believe, or did not want to believe, what she had reported.
The judge is being asked to rule on Partsch’s motion to include the girl’s testimony at trial.
Schaefer asked the judge to deny the motion saying it would dangerously prejudice his client, would confuse issues and mislead the jury.
The girl was emotional at times during her testimony. Judge Smith called for a five-minute recess prior to cross-examination.