The child a former Bangor councilman is accused of molesting was once a "trusting, sweet" little girl who loved animals and loved playing outside.
But her innocence didn't last long, according to Northampton County Assistant District Attorney Tatum Wilson.
"That little girl's childhood was taken from her," Wilson told jurors Monday in the sexual abuse trial of former councilman Phil Leone.
According to Wilson, the girl was molested repeatedly by Leone from the time she was 5 or 6 until she turned 11 or 12.
"He had me touch him," the now-17-year-old testified Monday.
She said the abuse started while they watched "Purple Rain" or "Dirty Dancing" together in his bedroom in Bangor. She was abused repeatedly in the bedroom and it continued in his basement in Easton when he moved in 2008, she said through tears.
"I didn't want to look at him," she said. I didn't want to be down there."
The victim lied about being abused, according to defense attorney Robert Eyer.
Wilson said Leone warned her she would get into trouble if she told anyone about the abuse. Wilson said the abuse stopped when "she had the courage to stand up" for herself. It took her even more time to go to police in 2014, Wilson said.
When confronted by police, Leone denied abusing the girl but admitted he "fit the profile of a child molester," Wilson said. He admitted he took the girl bra shopping many times.
Police found photos of naked children on a thumb drive in his home. But they didn't find photos of the victim naked as the victim predicted they would.
"They did not exist. They do not exist," Eyer said. "That fact casts a long shadow over this case."
In previous court proceedings, Leone said he had been a deacon at his Baptist church, a Bangor firefighter for 17 years and a volunteer with the Boy Scouts. He said he served as a borough councilman for six-and-a-half years from the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Wilson said Leone gave police various excuses for the pornography they found on his thumb drive: that the photos showed up as the result of pop-up ads, that he was researching child pornography to report offending websites and that an anti-virus technician planted the photos there.
None of the excuses makes sense, Wilson said.
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She told jurors to look into the victim's eyes during her testimony to evaluate her credibility.
"She will not only describe the sexual abuse she endured," Wilson said. "She will tell you about the fear and the shame that she felt."
Leone, of the 200 block of North 10th Street, is charged with indecent assault, endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of minors, possession of child pornography, sexual abuse of children, aggravated indecent assault and two counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.
Three additional sex offenses were dropped immediately prior to the trial.
Rudy Miller may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @RudyMillerLV. Find Easton area news on Facebook.
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