Defendant's son implicated in child sex assault
Leon L. Laudie, 45, of Lafayette Township, is on trial for 20 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of sexual assault of a child younger than 13.
A separate trial will be scheduled for 10 counts of being a registered sex offender photographing a minor without consent.
Defense Attorney Donna Kuchler said the child, who reportedly told her mother the defendant touched her butt, is not a reliable source of information.
"This is a child that really doesn't know the truth," Kuchler said Monday. "Maybe she has an imagination."
During her opening statement Monday, Kuchler said Laudie's son could have been the one to sexually assault the girl. The confusion, she said, could have happened because the girl calls both "Uncle Lee."
The defendant is a registered sex offender, and has been convicted of touching five girls between the ages of 4 and 8 between 1982 and 1991.
Kuchler said her client is under strict supervision.
"He isn't allowed to be left alone with children. When he is at the house with (the girl), they have never left my client alone with (the girl)," Kuchler said.
"The adult son, who comes down to visit from time to time, has been left alone."
A search of the defendant's computer revealed 20 pictures of the victim, according to court documents. Some of the pictures show her without clothing, and at least one shows the defendant without his pants.
"After the interview and search warrant, she has a physical exam done by two sexual assault nurse examiners," District Attorney Phil Koss said. "There is some evidence of injury, but it s not necessarily from sexual contact.
"Interestingly, she went crazy; she wouldn't allow them to have an internal exam."
Koss presented a video statement of the child and called her as a witness Monday, the first day of the trial.
On the witness stand, the girl looked at pictures of Laudie Sr. and Laudie Jr. and identified the defendant as the one who took pictures of her. Kuchler repeated the procedure, and the child identified the same man.
But Kuchler maintains the child is not sure about what she says.
"You will see that the child had a lot of difficulty," Kuchler said. "She didn't know the difference between a truth and a lie. She could not be reliable to relay information."
The case was first reported after the child's mother pinched the child's buttocks as a way to cheer up the girl because she had been sick that day.
According to the mother, the girl said, "Uncle Lee takes pictures of my butt."
In a later interview with a Walworth County social worker and a sheriff's detective, the girl identified both her vaginal and buttocks areas as her butt.
Laudie Jr. was not in court Monday, but Koss said he would testify in the coming days.
The trial is scheduled for five days.