Social worker: Teen scared to testify


By Jennifer Peryam - jperyam@limanews.com



From left are attorney E. Charles Bates and his client Michael Huizenga who is accussed of having sexual contact with a juvenile less than 13 years old every year since 2013 in Putnam County.

From left are attorney E. Charles Bates and his client Michael Huizenga who is accussed of having sexual contact with a juvenile less than 13 years old every year since 2013 in Putnam County.


OTTAWA — A Putnam County judge was told Monday that a sexually-abused teenager is fearful about testifying in open court against her alleged assailant.

Michael T. Huizenga, 51, is accused of having sexual contact with a juvenile less than 13 years old beginning in 2013 and continuing for six years. He has been charged with seven counts of rape and four counts of gross sexual imposition. All of the alleged incidents occurred in Putnam County.

Huizenga appeared before Common Pleas Judge Keith Schierloh on Monday during a pre-trial hearing.

Todd Schroeder, assistant prosecutor for Ohio, asked Cheryl Stauffer, Van Wert Counseling Services licensed social worker, questions regarding her counseling of the victim.

Stauffer said she provided counseling to the victim on April 4 and Nov. 11 of this year. She said she did a trauma assessment of the victim using play therapy and the victim responded to trauma. She was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder from the alleged incident.

The victim expressed fear in testifying against Huizenga with him being in the courtroom. The court approved a motion that will allow the victim to provide testimony to the court Dec. 12 that will be closed to the media and public.

The victim again received counseling on April 9, 2019, and told Stauffer the defendant said, “Don’t tell anyone or else you will see,” in regards to the abuse.

Other motions that were approved Monday were a stipulated polygraph being allowed to be used during the trial that can’t be undermined by the defendant. State expert witnesses have a December 6 deadline to provide reports and affirm if they will provide testimony.

A trial date was originally scheduled for Aug. 26, but Huizenga’s attorney, E. Charles Bates, requested additional time that was approved to allow for him to review the case.

The case has been pending since March and since the court was not in the 270-day period for a speedy trial, Huizenga previously agreed to sign a judgment entry time waiver agreeing to waive his right to a speedy trial.

Schroeder said there has not been a trial date yet scheduled.

Huizenga has been ordered not to consume alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription medications that has not been prescribed. He must submit to drug screening every Monday and Thursday, have no contact with the alleged victim and appear at all scheduled hearings.

From left are attorney E. Charles Bates and his client Michael Huizenga who is accussed of having sexual contact with a juvenile less than 13 years old every year since 2013 in Putnam County.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/11/web1_MichaelHuizenga.jpgFrom left are attorney E. Charles Bates and his client Michael Huizenga who is accussed of having sexual contact with a juvenile less than 13 years old every year since 2013 in Putnam County.

By Jennifer Peryam

jperyam@limanews.com

Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.

Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.

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