Defense Alleges ‘they Have Nothing’ As Caregiver Sex Assault Trial Opens
WILKES-BARRE — The trial of a caregiver accused of molesting a severely mentally disabled woman opened Wednesday with the prosecution asking the jury to piece together the facts of the case — facts the defense alleges aren’t enough to warrant a conviction.
Andrew Dula III, 56, of Shickshinny, is accused of having inappropriate contact with a 36-year-old woman at the Institute for Human Resources and Services care home at 99 N. Dawes Ave. in Kingston between November 2015 and February 2016.
During her opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Nancy Violi said the woman has the mental function of a baby and can’t speak or write.
“She requires assistance for literally everything she does or needs,” Violi said. “She’s basically a small child in a woman’s body.”
The prosecutor said Dula’s co-worker heard a scream early the morning of Feb. 3, 2016, and realized something was wrong. Violi alleged Dula, a residential program worker on the night shift, had been abusing his position of trust for his own sexual gratification.
“He knew all about her disabilities,” Violi said. “He knew all about her lack of ability to community. He had access to her — a lot of access to her.”
But defense attorney Al Flora Jr. urged the jury not to be guided by sympathy for the alleged victim’s condition and to take an objective look at the facts of the case.
He likened the situation to a father walking into the room to find a baby crying and the mother saying she didn’t know what had happened. It would be pure speculation to guess what happened simply because the baby stopped crying when the father picked her up, he said.
“All of their experts came up with nothing to support the conclusion that there was a sexual assault in this particular case,” Flora said. “You can’t speculate. They have no physical evidence. They have no medical evidence. They had no eyewitnesses. They have nothing.”
Dula is facing charges of attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, attempted sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, institutional sexual assault, indecent assault and indecent exposure.
The case is expected to last through the week.