NEBRASKA CITY – Prosecutor John Palmtag called two witnesses Tuesday afternoon who testified that they had been sexually assaulted by Nebraska City preacher Larry Mullins when they were in the age range of six to seven.
Mullins, 70, is charged with sexual assault involving only one girl, but prosecutors overcame a defense objection to get authority to call the second witness. Nebraska law does not typically allow testimony about past bad acts to show that a person would also be guilty of a present charge.
In her ruling, District Judge Julie Smith said she disagreed with the defense contention that since there were no charges in the earlier case, there was no offense.
On Tuesday, the first girl described sexual assaults consistent with the state’s charges. Prosecutors asked if she had any reason to make the allegations up and she answered no. She was asked if she was angry with Mullins when she told about the assaults.
Alleged victim: “I didn’t have any reason to be mad, except for the things he has done to me.”
The 11-year-old girl said she told the truth in a two-hour interview by the Child Advocacy Center, hour-long interview by deposition and on the witness stand.
The second girl, now 22, testified about what happened to her when she was six or seven at Mullins’ home.
Cpt. Lonnie Neeman earlier testified that he investigated sexual assault allegations involving the girl 10 years ago, but no charges were filed. The girl was 10 years old when she told her mom about the allegations from when she was six.
Defense Attorney Robert Schaefer asked the girl if charges were not filed in 2009 because there wasn’t enough evidence.
Second girl: “It wasn’t that there wasn’t enough evidence. I was in Illinois getting badgered by people. I didn’t want to go on with the investigation.”
In cross examination of Cpt. Neeman, the defense noted a letter purportedly written by the second girl that said it was another man, not Mullins, that had assaulted her.
On Tuesday, the girl said Mullins’ wife sat down with her had asked her to write the letter.
Palmtag asked the girl why she would write a letter, if it were not true.
Second girl: “I was done with the questions. I was 10. I didn’t want to worry about anything.”
The day of state’s evidence ended with the jury watching a video of the alleged victims interview at the Child Advocacy Center. Many jurors did not look at Mullins throughout the showing and some only for brief moments.