December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Joseph Allen seeking new trial in child molestation case

ELYRIA — Joseph Allen’s attorney on Wednesday filed court documents seeking a new trial for his client in the controversial Head Start child molestation case.

Allen

Allen

Allen’s request for the new trial follows a similar effort mounted by lawyers for Allen’s codefendant, Nancy Smith, last week.

The paperwork filed by K. Ronald Bailey on Allen’s behalf largely mirrors the arguments raised by Smith’s lawyers in her request, which focused on what her legal team contends is newly discovered evidence that the testimony of the children who accused Smith and Allen was tainted.

The Allen documents rely heavily on an affidavit prepared by Maggie Bruck, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, for Smith. In it, Bruck writes that the interview techniques used by investigators, the involvement of parents in the questioning of children and the intense media coverage all contributed to alter the memories of the alleged victims.

The methods used to interview child victims of sex crimes have evolved since the 1990s when Smith was accused of taking 4- and 5-year-old children from her Head Start bus route to Allen’s house, where prosecutors contend the children were molested, she wrote.

“In my expert opinion, the key facts in this case are incontrovertible: the children denied abuse during early interviews; when they did make allegations, these were preceded by extremely suggestive interview techniques that rendered all subsequent statements unreliable,” Bruck wrote.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.