NEBRASKA CITY – The jury trial of a Nebraska City preacher who is accused of sexual assault of a child began Monday in Otoe County District Court.
In opening statements, defense attorney Robert Schaefer and Deputy Otoe County Attorney John Palmtag told the jury the case hinges on whether they will believe the testimony of the alleged victim, who is now 11-years-old.
Palmtag said the girl made a revelation a year ago in March to her parents that she had been sexually assaulted on three separate occasions beginning at the age of six. Palmtag said 70-year-old Larry Mullins, who had founded the Apostolic Christian Ministries of Nebraska City, assaulted the girl for sexual gratification.
Palmtag: “I’m going to ask you to believe her, and, if you believe her, I’m going to ask that you convict Larry Mullins.”
Schaefer said Mullins’ wife will testify in direct contradiction to the girl’s account of one alleged incident and said, at the end of the trial, the jury will understand that what girl alleges is not possible.
Schaefer: “When you go to deliberate, you’ll say that doesn’t make sense.”
Police Cpt. Lonnie Neeman was first to testify for the state. He said he spoke with Mullins after the girl was interviewed by the Child Advocacy Center.
He testified that Mullins said the girl had sat on his lap at his home, where his wife was present, but said he had touched the girl only in proper ways and did not cause the bruises to the girl’s body that were photographed at the Child Advocacy Center.
Mullins is not expected to testify at trial.