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Liberty girl testifies on sexual assault

Theodore Fecko III accused of raping teen

Staff photo / Raymond L. Smith Defendant Theodore Fecko III, 41, of Liberty, listens to opening statements Monday at his rape trial in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

WARREN — Speaking in hushed tones that were barely audible even with the use of a microphone, the 13-year-old victim of an alleged sexual assault told jurors Monday how a friend’s uncle inappropriately touched her.

The teen kept looking towards the floor and around the courtroom as she brought up memories of July 23, 2020, sitting upstairs in the man’s bedroom looking at social media videos and a television program.

The teen was the first witness in the rape trial of Theodore Fecko III, 41, of Liberty, who is accused of raping her while she was visiting his mother’s house.

Testimony continues today in the courtroom of Common Pleas Judge Ronald J. Rice.

During opening arguments, defense attorney Robert Rohrbaugh told the jury the prosecution will produce no forensic evidence pointing to his client. Rohrbaugh emphasized Fecko and his accuser are the only two people with knowledge of whether the assault occurred.

The teen responded to questions from Assistant Prosecutor Diane Barber saying she had spent the night at “Miss Cathy’s” home where she played with a 9-year-old friend. The two girls spent hours earlier that day at Mill Creek Park with Fecko, jumping into the water.

The testimony continued as she described returning to the home of the friend’s grandmother, where the alleged victim changed out of her wet clothing and then the girls went outside to play school. The girls then came back inside to watch television, but could not watch the first-floor set because it was already being used, the victim testified. They went to the upstairs television that was in Fecko’s bedroom.

Fecko showed the girls pictures he had taken on his phone while they were jumping into the water at the park. The victim testified she felt three of the photos were inappropriate because they were showing her from behind. She said she took the phone into another room and erased the photos.

Later, while the girls were sitting on the bed looking at Tik Tok videos, the victim described Fecko reaching under her jean overalls and touching her breast. The girl testified she asked her friend if she saw what happened, but she told her she had not. A short time later, she testified she felt him reaching under her overalls once again and touching her breast.

Both times, the victim testified he appeared to be sleeping while he was touching her. Each time, she testified she tried to move further away from him.

Fecko’s phone alarm sounded four times before he got up, the girl testified. By this time, the friend had left the room.

While Fecko was putting on a shirt, the pre-teen described him slipping his hand under the cutoff pant leg of the overalls into her underwear and penetrating a finger into her private area.

“I kicked at his stomach,” she told jurors.

She said she then ran out of the house to the garage of her parents’ house, called her mother and then her stepfather.

The victim’s mother, who also testified, told the jury she and her husband were driving to the Sam’s Club in Niles when she received a frantic phone call from her daughter.

“Mommy, get home,” the mother described her daughter as saying. “I need you. I need you.”

However, the girl did not tell her mother what she had gone through. She then called her stepfather. After that call, the mother testified they turned around and rushed back to their house.

After Fecko left his mother’s house to go to work, the victim testified she went back into the home to retrieve her phone charger and other items she left. Telling them she would not be coming back, she said she returned to her parents’ home, locking doors behind her as she went to her parents’ bedroom.

After they called police, the victim was taken to Akron Children’s Hospital in Boardman, where statements were taken and a rape kit was collected. Testimony showed that after the attack, the victim was sent to an aunt’s home in Pennsylvania where she lived for more than six weeks.

“She has changed,” her mother told jurors. “She was once an A / B student, now she is a D / F student. She quit the cheerleading team. She does not eat. She gets scared.”

rsmith@tribtoday.com

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