Franklin County jury views scene of alleged 2004 rape

November 18, 2005|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The trial of a Spring Run, Pa., man charged with raping a teenage relative of his wife featured something the defense and prosecuting attorneys had experienced just once between them in their years of practice - a viewing of the crime scene by the jury.

Thursday morning, shortly after the opening statements in the trial of Ronald James Daihl Jr., the jury was taken by bus to view his home, particularly the downstairs bathroom where the assault allegedly took place.

Defense attorney David Keller said he had a jury go to a scene just once in his career, while Franklin County Assistant District Attorney David Rahauser said it never had happened in any case he had tried.


Daihl, 27, of Dry Run Road West, is charged with rape, statutory sexual assault and sexual assault, according to court records. Pennsylvania State Police allege that, in June 2004, a 13-year-old girl was in the bathroom when Daihl entered the room and forced her to have sexual intercourse.

The girl did not inform authorities immediately, according to testimony Thursday. Trooper Daren Hockenberry testified he interviewed her in December.

The girl testified she frequently went to Daihl's home to visit her relative and to baby-sit for them. She testified that the night of the incident, Daihl came into the bathroom and ordered her to pull her pants down.

When she refused, she testified, Daihl pulled them down, forced her to the floor and raped her.

One friend of the girl testified she told her of the rape about a week after it occurred. Another friend said the girl told her a few weeks later.

"Absolutely not," Daihl testified when asked if he had sex with the girl or talked about sex with her.

"No. I don't even think it's possible," Daihl testified when asked by Keller if he had ever had sex in the bathroom.

On cross-examination, Rahauser asked why it would not be possible. When Daihl testified the room was "really small," Rahauser asked if Daihl had ever had sex in the front seat of his vehicle.

Keller objected, but Judge John R. Walker allowed the line of questioning to continue for a time, saying Daihl had opened the door by saying he thought it impossible to have sex in the bathroom. Daihl then testified he had never had sexual relations in his vehicle.

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin this morning, after which the case goes to the jury.

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