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Girl testifies in child-rape case

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    Jacob Champion is shown Wednesday during a break in his trial alleging he raped a 17-month-old boy.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

  • Court-dog-jpg

    Farley, the facility dog from the prosecutor's office, sits by a girl as she testifies in a rape trial Tuesday.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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ELYRIA — Jacob Champion told the 7-year-old sister of his alleged victim to go back to bed, not go in her brother’s room and to not wake up her mother after the girl came out of her bedroom to check on why her little brother was crying in the middle of the night, the girl testified Wednesday.

Police have said Champion, 26, of Lorain, raped the 17-month-old victim, who was the son of his live-in girlfriend, on Aug. 2, 2016, in the middle of the night. Testimony has said Champion may have sodomized the boy with a small souvenir baseball bat.

On Wednesday, the now-9-year-old sister of the boy testified for the prosecution.

The girl said she heard her brother crying loudly during the night of the alleged incident and went out into the hallway to investigate. She said when she stepped out of her bedroom, she saw Champion in the bathroom checking his lip, which was bleeding. She asked him why her brother was crying, and he told her to not go into the 17-month-old boy’s bedroom and also to not wake up her mother, who was apparently sleeping.

During her testimony, the Lorain County Prosecutor’s Office facility dog, Farley, was lying at the girl’s feet. During breaks in the testimony, the girl would lean down, pet and talk to the dog.

The Prosecutor’s Office recently acquired Farley for such circumstances. In September, Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will told The Chronicle-Telegram that there is case law that allows facility dogs to enter a courtroom.

During cross examination of the girl, defense attorney Brian Darling played a clip of a video interview of the girl conducted by Elyria police. During the snippet the girl said she had gone into the boy’s room when she heard him crying and had found him asleep.

When Darling asked the girl about the discrepancy between the two versions of the story, she was adamant that she had not gone into her brother’s room the evening of the alleged incident because Champion told her not to.

The day began with the continued testimony of the mother of the children, who said she had not heard any crying from her son during the night of the incident. She said she hadn’t realized anything was wrong until she went to wake the boy up the following morning and found him “shaking and crying” when she entered the room and found the onesie and diaper he was wearing soaked in blood, along with the sheet in his crib.

The mother testified that she found the souvenir baseball bat in the dresser drawer in the boy’s room the morning of the incident. She said it wasn’t usually there because she had put it in the closet after she had to take it away from the boy months earlier.

Champion had gotten the bat for the boy from Dave and Buster’s on his first date with the boy’s mother, the mother testified. The boy had played with it regularly, but it was taken away from him after he became “destructive” with it — hitting his sister and objects around the house with it.

The mother of the children also testified that she has not had custody of the two children since the alleged incident. While she has visitation rights with her daughter, she has not had contact with her son since 2016.

The paternal grandparents of the children have permanent custody of the boy and girl, the paternal grandmother testified. The grandmother also testified that she believed Champion was the drug dealer of her late son and the children’s mother prior to the shooting death of her son.

Contact Scott Mahoney at 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.


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