Jury deliberates whether adults used girl as sex slave - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Jury deliberates whether adults used girl as sex slave

Burlington, Vermont - April 26, 2010

A Burlington jury is deliberating whether a husband and wife repeatedly sexually abused an elementary school girl.

Shane Casey and Stacey Parnitzke are changed with using this little girl as their own sex slave. After six days of evidence, the case really boils down to the word of the alleged victim against the word of the adults.

Shane Casey and Stacey Parnitzke's futures are in the hands of a jury for a second time. Prosecutors failed to fully convince another set of jurors last year that the husband and wife are guilty of horrific sex crimes in 2005 and 2006.

In this re-trial, the state maintains Casey and Parnitzke repeatedly forced an elementary school girl into group sex, and invited others to rape her in a Burlington apartment. Parnitzke was caring for the child at the time.

"Nothing became something over the course of time and through the influence of others," Parnitzke's lawyer Bob Katims told the jury in closing arguments.

The couple says the girl's story is completely fabricated, coached out of her by an overzealous justice system and Parnitzke's ex-husband.

"What value does this child's testimony have about anything? At all? I submit to you -- nearly zero," said Shane Casey's lawyer Dan Maguire.

The defense argues there's no evidence of scarring that proves violent rapes took place. But prosecutors counter there are ways pedophiles assault kids without leaving a lasting mark, and no child would ever know the graphic sexual details revealed in court unless she were truly a victim.

"Why would she put herself through police interviews and depositions and trial?" asked Chittenden County Deputy State's Attorney Susan Hardin. "If you believe what she told you, you'll return a verdict of guilty against both defendants. We can't give her back her past, we can give her her future."

If they're found guilty of aggravated sexual assault, Shane Casey and Stacey Parnitzke could face life in prison.

Jack Thurston - WCAX News

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