The youngest of two women alleging years of sexual abuse at the hands of their stepfather told the court Tuesday she simply never felt safe enough to tell anyone until she broke the news to her mother nearly a year after she had left the home.
Under cross examination Tuesday, she continued to maintain the stepfather would strike her with a two-by-four if she had rebelled against his advances the night before, suffering at least 100 blows each time.
She said she never complained to her mother because she thought it was pointless given her cries could be heard from elsewhere in the home. She was still able to pursue high school sports after the beatings, she told the court.
"I would be sore but I could still work through pain," she said.
A court-ordered publication ban prohibits printing the names of both the accused and the alleged victims. The accused faces 14 sex-related charges, including sexual assault, sexual interference of a person under 14 years old, publishing child pornography and bestiality.
The stepfather's alleged use of religion to control the two and the household continued to be a theme.
The family had been uninvited from their church after the stepfather and two of his sons moved into the home and he soon became the authority figure and the channel through which the family could access God, the court had heard.
The court also heard he invoked the bible to justify his actions.
"As my father, I had to respect what he wanted for me," she said. "What God wanted and what the head of the house was always put above what I wanted."
When it was noted that the girl was allowed to go to a different church, she countered that it was limited to one service every few months and always at a different church. Moreover, she said the stepfather would go over what she had learned at the service and tell her what she could believe.
She said the stepfather would tell her that although what they were doing was socially unacceptable, it was good for her.
When she turned 18, she said she left home and the activity with her father ended, "not because I though it was wrong but because I didn't like it."
The trial is expected to last beyond the end of this week with further dates to hear testimony still to be set.