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Rape trial begins

June 11, 1998|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The trial of a Virginia man charged in the sexual assault of a girl two years ago began Wednesday in Franklin County Court with testimony from the victim and her mother.

Travis A. Corson, 29, of Manassas, Va., is charged with rape, incest and indecent assault.

Pennsylvania State Police records alleged the incidents occurred in the months before his arrest on Dec. 23, 1996.

"He's not really happy because he's kind of afraid I might tell," the girl said when asked to describe pictures she had drawn for her mother two days before Corson was arrested.

Holding a Bugs Bunny doll during her testimony, the 7-year-old described an incident that occurred on June 3, 1996, in the bathroom of her Mercersburg, Pa.-area home. She said she knew the date because her parents were at the hospital, where her mother was giving birth, and Corson, who was living in the area at the time, was babysitting the other children.

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On cross-examination, de-fense attorney Robert Broderick asked the girl, "If your mother said ... 'You've got to tell a lie, or I'm going to be in a lot of trouble,' would you do that?"

The girl said her mother never told her to lie, but Broderick produced a transcript from an Oct. 23 court hearing in which she replied to a similar question, "I might and I might not."

"I know I wouldn't tell a lie in court," the girl said.

The mother testified she learned of the possible sexual abuse from a school counselor after a school employee overheard the girl talking with friends on the playground.

Broderick asked the mother if she had ever been under the care of a psychiatrist. She said she had been several years ago and still takes an anti-depressant.

The trial is scheduled to last through Friday.

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