At just 14 years old, a girl testifying in Chittenden District Court claimed she's lived most of her young life in emotional anguish because of Stacey Parnitzke. "I don't have any feelings towards her at all!" the girl wept.
Parnitzke was caring for the child but Chittenden County prosecutors say she really only subjected the girl to sexual torture. They allege she brought man after man into her homes, first in England, then in Burlington in 2005 and 2006, to abuse her. It would happen, the girl testified, after Parnitzke showed her pornographic movies to mimic. "She'd turn [the video] off and she would tell me to get undressed," the girl told the court.
Parnitzke's second husband, Shane Casey, is also on trial for sex assault. Prosecutors say he was just one of the men Parnitzke allowed to assault the child. "I just asked [Parnitzke] why am I doing these things, and it was like -- she ignored me," the girl said, fighting back tears.
This is the second trial for Stacey Parnitzke and Shane Casey. They are recovering alcohol and drug addicts. Their first trial last year ended in a hung jury and they've been in jail ever since.
Robert Katims, the lawyer for Stacey Parnitzke, told jurors, "These allegations are false. These things didn't happen."
Lawyers for both defendants say the girl's story is completely bogus and that there is no physical evidence that shows any assaults took place at all. Parnitzke's attorney suggested the child's father coached her on what to say, describing a moment when she was talking to police: "At one point," Katims said, "She's even looking up at her father and the detective says, 'Don't look at him. Give your answers to me.'"
Shane Casey's lawyer told jurors they'll hear his client testify during trial and that he'll tell them he never touched the girl inappropriately.
The trial will take most of the week, maybe longer, with expert witnesses both for the defense and prosecution being flown in from all across the country to describe some of the questions in the case like poor physical evidence of rape. That is apparently what sunk the prosecution at the first trial.
As for the men who allegedly victimized the girl so many times, there have never been any others charged. Prosecutors admit they don't know who the alleged abusers are, and that could be because the girl was so traumatized to remember. But defense attorneys say it further calls into question the child's story if none of these attackers are known to investigators.