Counselor describes girl as 'terrified'

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A clinical psychologist treating the elementary school girl who has accused former Carroll County schools Superintendent William H. Hyde of raping her testified yesterday that the child was so "terrified" that she often curled up on the floor in a corner when talking about the alleged abuse.

"She said she thought she should have been able to tell him, 'No' or 'Stop it,' " said Lindsey S. Daniels, who has treated the girl for nearly a year. "She said she thought it was all her fault."

Daniels was one of two health professionals to testify yesterday, the third day of Hyde's trial in Carroll County Circuit Court. A Carroll County General Hospital pediatrician also took the witness stand, saying he had never seen such pronounced physical signs of long-term sexual abuse.

Hyde, 62, left the Carroll school system in August 2000 to take a job with a small Montana school system. The former schools chief returned to Carroll County for about two weeks last summer and is charged with raping and sexually abusing the child at her family's home in July last year.

During about five hours of testimony yesterday, Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. also heard from the girl's mother, who returned to the witness stand for more than an hour yesterday, and from her husband, the girl's father, who described the effect of the ordeal on his daughter as "brutal" and said the investigation and fallout have been "the worst thing I've ever endured."

Earlier in the day, Daniels detailed the 11 months of weekly and sometimes twice-weekly sessions with the child, in whom she has diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder.

Daniels described how the girl refused to sleep in her own bed, volunteering instead to sleep in a sleeping bag under the bed or beside it.

Explaining how she asked very few direct questions of the girl about the alleged abuse, Daniels described the therapeutic games she used to draw out the child's feelings and elicit what the therapist called "indirect disclosures" about what had happened to her.

On one occasion, when asked what she might see if she looked in the window of a house at night, the girl said, "A man and a girl having sex," Daniels said.

On another occasion, while looking at cards with pictures on them, the girl came across a drawing of a pair of hands. "She said she didn't like hands," Daniels testified. "When I asked her why, she said, 'Because his hands really hurt me.'"

The psychologist told the judge that the girl named Hyde as her abuser and that by their third session had taken to calling him "Dirthead" and "Stinker."

On cross-examination, defense attorney Kathi Hill posed what she characterized as a hypothetical question about a child who had not been abused but had been told over the course of several investigative interviews that something had happened to her.

Asked whether it was possible for a child to then "fabricate a story" to match the adults' set of facts, Daniels said it was.

Defense lawyers have criticized investigators' interview tactics in the case, arguing that they told the girl too much rather than waiting for her to volunteer information.

They also have suggested that the girl's family might have pushed her into accusing Hyde of rape in addition to inappropriate touching, and that the girl's injuries might have been caused by a schoolmate who was the subject of an investigation three years ago.

Dr. Robert P. Wack, medical director for the sexual assaults forensic examination clinic at Carroll County General Hospital, told the judge about his July 19, 2002, examination of the girl and characterized his findings - genital injuries and other physical signs - as "absolutely consistent with sexual abuse."

On cross-examination, he confirmed for Hill, one of Hyde's two attorneys, that it was the most abnormal finding for such a young girl that he had ever seen, that the abuse had occurred more than once or twice and that he could not determine from looking at the girl's injuries when the abuse had begun.

Later in the afternoon, Larry Faries, a retired state police barracks commander, testified about his brief encounter with Hyde in the lobby of the Westminster state police barracks.

Faries told the judge yesterday that he retired from that post about five years ago when Hyde, then superintendent, asked him to be the school system's security coordinator.

Faries testified that he had not seen the former schools chief in at least a year when he encountered him Aug. 8 last year in the barracks lobby.

Hyde told him that he was in town for his divorce hearing and had "some business" at the barracks, Faries said.

When Faries jokingly asked whether his former troops were taking good care of him, Hyde said he was a possible suspect in a child sexual abuse investigation.

"To say my knees buckled is an understatement," Faries testified. "Then Mr. Hyde began a conversation about things that had happened out West, telling me about a bear that came up on his deck."

Hyde has waived his right to a jury trial, leaving the verdict to Burns. If convicted of the rape charge, Hyde could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

The Sun is not disclosing many details from the case to protect the girl's identity.

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