Opening Statements Heard in O’Bryant Trial

Steven O'Bryant

Opening statements were heard today in the trial against Steven O’Bryant, a man accused of sexually molesting a juvenile while staying at the juvenile’s parents’ Starke County residence over the course of two months from March 30 to May 30. He pleaded not guilty to the four charges of Child Molestation against him.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ryan said during the state’s opening statements that during the period of time the defendant was staying at the victim’s house, he had sexually molested the victim and threatened to “wipe him off the earth” if he told anyone. She said O’Bryant was thrown out of the victim’s home after offering the victim’s mother a massage in exchange for money, and after he had left the county, the victim admitted to what had happened.

Ryan said that during the course of the trial, the sexual assault nurse who performed the physical exam on the victim will testify. Further, she noted that the victim told authorities that O’Bryant had one specific identifiable feature, besides his number of tattoos: a scar on his penis. Ryan said that a search warrant was executed on O’Bryant, and police found that identifying scar.

The defense, on the other hand, emphasized to the jury not to judge a book by its cover. O’Bryant’s attorney told the jury that O’Bryant very obviously likes to express himself through body art, but this trial isn’t about that. She said the trial is about an 11-year-old boy who told a story with no physical evidence and changing details.

O’Bryant’s attorney said that during the time O’Bryant stayed in the home, he was never alone. Usually at least eight people were staying in the home at any given time, and there was no privacy; as a result, these acts could not have happened. She said there is no medical findings, scientific evidence, or eyewitnesses to corroborate the victim’s story.

The trial is expected to continue until Friday.