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Judge: Girls won’t testify in front of defendant

By The Mercury

Two of three child victims in a rape case against a Fort Riley man will be allowed to testify outside the presence of the defendant during his trial.

On Thursday, Riley County Attorney Barry Wilkerson said that Judge David Stutzman granted the state’s motion to allow the two girls, ages 7 and 10, to testify via closed-circuit television outside the court room.

The girls now won’t have to take the stand while the defendant, 31-year-old Christopher Bates, sits a short distance away.

Bates is scheduled to go to trial on Aug. 18. He’s charged with three counts of rape, one count of aggravated criminal sodomy and three counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child.

Stutzman made his ruling about two weeks after hearing arguments from Wilkerson and Bates’ attorney, Larry McRell, about how the girls should be able to testify.

Wilkerson argued the state’s motion would protect the two victims, while McRell said there’s no reason to believe the girls couldn’t testify in person.

The alleged incidents, which also involved a 12-year-old girl, all happened in Riley County between June 1 and Aug. 11, 2013. Bates knows each of the victims.

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