Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

January 29, 2013

Victim testifies about ‘lewd acts’

TAHLEQUAH — Testimony began Monday afternoon in the trial of a man accused of twice committing lewd acts with a 10-year-old girl last year.

Christopher Joe Yocum, 28, was arrested last April for placing the girls hand on his genitals. The case was investigated by Northeastern State University police because the alleged acts took place in a campus residence.

Attorneys spent much of Monday selecting the jury. Including the alternate juror, the panel was eventually narrowed down to 10 women and three men.

Prosecutors told the jury Monday that the victim considers Yocum her dad, although he isn’t the girl’s biological father.

Assistant District Attorney Marena Doolittle said Yocum is accused of placing the girl’s hand on his genitals on two different occasions. She said Yocum later provided detailed statements to police about the alleged touching, and claimed he was intoxicated when it happened.

Yocum apologized for the incident, Doolittle said, and claimed he was sorry for hurting the victim, his family, and others involved.

Yocum’s attorney, Angela Jones, told jurors in her opening statement that Yocum’s life changed in a matter of hours last April when he was interrogated over the accusations. Jones said Yocum tried to maintain his innocence “time and time again,” and has consistently pleaded not guilty to the charges, but “no one would believe him.”

Jones told jurors the state does not have the evidence for the panel to convict Yocum of the charges: “Not even close.”

After opening statements from Doolittle and Jones, the state called the alleged victim to testify.

In response to questions posed by Assistant District Attorney B.J. Baker, the child told jurors she lived last year in an apartment at NSU with Yocum, her mother, an uncle, and a younger brother. She answered other questions for Baker, including where she went to school and what her favorite school subject is.

Early in her testimony, the girl asked if she could take a break or come back to a couple of questions about why she was upset at her father one night last year. As her testimony continued, the girl told jurors Yocum had once apologized to her, but he wouldn’t tell her why.

“He said he was sorry and he wouldn’t tell me what he did,” she said.

The girl also said Yocum told her not to tell anyone.

She told Baker she is afraid of her dad, and hasn’t missed him since she and her mom moved away.

Baker asked her why she is scared of Yocum.

“Because of what he did,” she responded.

The girl later said her father came into her room one night – a few days before he apologized to her – and she “felt something.”

“My hand was on the bed; it got moved off,” the girl said.

Baker asked the girl for details about what she felt in her hand, but she was only able to provide a minimal description. She told Baker she believes Yocum’s hand was on hers at the time of the touching, and briefly described how her hand was being moved around.

The girl told jurors she believes “the same thing” likely happened weeks later, in April, when she woke up and Yocum was again in her room. She said Yocum looked around and left, but she now cannot remember anything else happening.

“It just scared me that he would come in the room and do something,” she said. “I don’t remember most of it.”

The girl said she went crying to her mom that night in April and told her what had happened. She now cannot remember what she told her mother, but recalls her mom saying she would stay up all night “and make sure I am OK.”

The girl told jurors Yocum frequently consumed beer and liquor, and would sometimes act differently when he drank.

District Judge Darrell Shepherd recessed court shortly before 5 p.m. Monday. After jurors were excused from the courtroom, Baker told the judge a family member of Yocum’s, who has accused the victim of lying, stood outside the courtroom door, watching as the victim testified. Baker said the woman could possibly testify on Yocum’s behalf, and by standing at the door, she was violating the ordered separation of witnesses because she might have heard the victim’s testimony.

Baker asked Shepherd to prevent the woman from testifying on behalf of Yocum, but Shepherd overruled the request and told Baker the woman’s activity should have been brought to his attention when it was noticed.

Testimony was set to continue Tuesday morning.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • CN, UKB battle over trust land application

    Two Tahlequah-based tribes presented oral arguments Friday in a protracted fight over a land-in-trust application.

    Over the course of five hours, attorneys for the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee Nation Entertainment and the Department of the Interior made their cases before Northern District Judge Gregory Frizzell in a hearing that was originally scheduled for February.

     

    July 25, 2014

  • ts-NSU-Main-1-a.jpg No NSU pool, for now

    NSU experiencing delays in fitness center construction

    Earlier this month, Northeastern State University announced it is experiencing delays in the renovation of its fitness center and pool.
    The facility was officially shuttered Sept. 17, 2012, and at the time, the projected completion date for renovation was this fall.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • jn-Suspect-1.jpg Officials: Images of suspects may help nab church burglars

    Cherokee County investigators hope surveillance footage captured around the Crescent Valley Baptist Church in Woodall helps lead to the suspects accused of breaking into the complex and setting fire to one building this week.
    According to Undersheriff Jason Chennault, cameras captured footage of two suspects on bicycles early Tuesday morning, July 22.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • svw-movie-night.jpg Local library hosts family movie night

    Nova Foreman and her two daughters were about to leave the Tahlequah Public Library Thursday, when they saw the Family Movie Night flyer.
    The three decided to stay and enjoy a movie they had not yet seen at the free, theater-like event.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-Keys.jpg Grant to fund stepped-up Keys PE program

    Kair Ridenhour’s new office is filled with pedometers.
    Ridenhour officially started his new position as assistant elementary principal at Keys Public Schools on July 1.
    But his other role at the school – that of physical education project coordinator – prompted the influx of pedometers.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • jn cvbc fire.jpg Church catches fire after burglaries

    Authorities are looking for the person accused of breaking into the Crescent Valley Baptist Church two times this week and likely causing a fire that damaged the youth building early Wednesday morning.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • svw Humane photo.tif More volunteers needed to house strays, help with spay-and-neuter

    Furry friends may seem like the perfect addition to round out a family.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marijuana, seeds lead to four arrests

    Four people were arrested on marijuana related charges early Wednesday morning after a traffic stop on South Muskogee Avenue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Sex offender found living in tent at river

    Cherokee County sheriff’s investigators arrested a convicted sex offender this week when they discovered he has been living in a tent along the river.

    July 24, 2014

  • ts-NSU-MAIN.jpg Fledgling RiverHawks arrive

    Over 200 incoming freshmen took part in orientation class at Northeastern State University

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Stocks