SYCAMORE – The prosecution rested Thursday in the trial of a DeKalb man charged with predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child. Defense attorneys had a chance to cross-examine an interviewer from the Child Advocacy Center who had testified Wednesday.
Caroline Hernandez, one of
Carlos Botello’s defense attorneys, asked forensic interviewer Donna Moulton whether she had followed professional guidelines and best practices during her interview of the children in 2017.
Hernandez questioned whether Moulton had asked leading questions of the children, despite being trained not to do so. Specifically, when asking one of the girls where Botello had touched her, Moulton had asked if it was a specific part of her body not previously mentioned by the girl.
“There was no need for you to make the suggestion,” Hernandez said to Moulton after viewing a video of the interview.
Moulton responded that the girl had been referring to drawings and she was responding to physical cues.
Hernandez also asked Moulton whether she had explored any “alternative hypotheses” when interviewing the children, whether she sought out any other explanation for the events or if someone else possibly could have committed the acts. Moulton responded that she had not done so during that interview but said that the possibility had been explored in other interviews conducted.
“I didn’t feel like there was any question about what she was talking about,” Moulton said.
First Assistant State’s Attorney Stephanie Klein asked Moulton about the vocabulary used by children when being interviewed and if there is a pattern they would use.
“[Children] shouldn’t have that experience, so they wouldn’t have anything to base it on,” Moulton said.
Botello was charged in January 2017 after an investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office. Botello is accused of inappropriate contact with the children on multiple occasions between October 2016 and Dec. 24, 2016, records show.
The trial resumes at 10:30 a.m. Friday in front of DeKalb County Circuit Court Judge Phillip Montgomery, with the defense expected to call an expert witness.