Published November 17, 2014
Both sides rested Thursday in the case of a New Jersey man accused of raping five of his daughters and impregnating three, after the defendant faced intense cross-examination that sought to show inconsistencies in nearly every aspect of his testimony.
The prosecution produced school transcripts and test scores to counter the man's earlier claims that he had high morals, got excellent marks in school and had once been an Eagle Scout.
Lisa Squitieri, the Passaic County prosecutor handling the case, challenged what she said was the man's prior claim that he scored near 1500 on the SATs by producing a transcript showing he had a total SAT score of 70 points. She showed other transcripts from high school and one semester at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, which she said had expelled him, arguing the documents reflected his poor grades and his exaggeration of earlier claims.
She also showed a letter from a company he had claimed to work for stating they had no record of his employment.
Under questioning, the man repeatedly denied he had testified to having good grades or excelling in school, and then claimed both the high school and college transcripts were wrong.
"Those are not my records — and I think you know that," the man said to Squitieri.
"No, they are your records, you may not want them to be," she answered.
The man, who was arrested in 2006 and ruled competent to stand trial this year, has pleaded not guilty to 27 charges including sexual assault, lewdness, child endangerment and criminal sexual contact.
Three of the daughters whom he is accused of raping are believed to have given birth to a total of six of his children.
The first of five trials — one for each child he's accused of victimizing — is taking place in Paterson, where the family lived for many years.
The Associated Press generally doesn't identify victims of sexual crimes and isn't reporting the name of the man or his former wife to protect the identities of their children, who are now older than 18.
The former wife and a daughter who says she bore him a child have testified that he told them he was a god and wanted to create "pure" family bloodlines.
A forensics experts testified earlier in the trial that DNA profiles showed the defendant was likely the father of his own grandchild.
The man's former wife said he had insisted most of their 9 children be born at home, and forbade the family from visiting doctors or enrolling the children in school. She said their diets were severely restricted and the man enforced his will with constant beatings and punishment.
The man denied ever assaulting or raping the daughter. He countered his wife's claims by saying the family lived in a peaceful, polygamous household based on African spiritualism and holistic living, and homeschooled their children because the local school systems weren't up to their standards.
The man testified earlier that he loved his children and never harmed them. His lawyer showed photographs of the family taking a vacation in a mobile home, and the children riding bicyles outside; countering claims from his former wife that they lived in a near prison-like environment, cut off from friends and family.
The defendant said testimony from his former wife that he beat her and the children, and a daughter who said he raped her until she bore him a child, were "all lies," and couldn't be true because he worked full time, was rarely home, and was never alone with his daughter.
Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday.