OTTAWA — Jury selection and opening statements began Monday in the first day of a trial of a Continental man who has been accused of having sexual contact with a juvenile less than 13 years old since 2013 in Putnam County.
Michael T. Huizenga, 51, appeared before Putnam County Common Pleas Court Judge Keith Schierloh with his attorney, E. Charles Bates. Huizenga has been charged with seven counts of rape and four counts of sexual imposition against a 10 year old.
The case has been pending since March and since the court did not meet 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.
After four hours of jury selection Monday, a jury of seven men and four women were seated and sworn in by Clerk Kim Redman.
The trial began with Todd Schroeder, assistant prosecutor, providing context of when the victim said the sexual allegations began.
“It was her third birthday. He asked her to go with him to get supplies and led her to the bedroom and undressed himself and her and penetrated her and told her not to tell anyone,” Schroeder said.
He continued that the victim reported on several occasions being led to the defendant’s garage where he would rape her and use baby wipes to clean her and himself. The victim alleges penetration by the defendant when she was ages 3 to 9.
The victim reported the defendant put his mouth on her vagina and also assaulted her in his bed when his wife was in the bed sleeping.
The victim said the abuse went on another six years, but she did not tell anyone because she was afraid it would upset her family.
She finally confided in a teacher that she had been abused, and it was reported to her mother. The victim was 9 1/2 at the time.
Huizenga’s attorney described his client as a family man who has been married for 34 years. He and his wife have four children.
The victim’s relative testified in court she took the victim to undergo a sexual assault exam in Toledo. The victim said she became scared and asked if the examiner would be a man.
The victim was interviewed by the Putnam County Sheriff’s office.
Dr. Randal Shlievert, Mercy Health, Toledo, appeared in court Monday and said he performed a sexual assault exam on the victim March 18, 2019, more than 72 hours after the alleged incident had occurred. He reported that there were no physical injuries to the victim’s hymen indicative of sexual penetration, but said that is common.
“Her words are the evidence. The earlier you can do the exam the better, but my conclusion is that she had been sexually assaulted and was advised to go to counseling,” the doctor said.
The jury watched a video recorded Jan. 9, in which the victim gave testimony against the defendant. She was interviewed by Schroeder.
She was asked in the video why she was in the courtroom, and she said someone did something to her and identified the defendant. She began to cry on the video as she related details of where and how the events allegedly happened. She recalled a time when they heard a car pull into the driveway and he stopped what he was doing.
“Afterwards he told me not to tell anyone, and I kept it a secret,” the victim said.
The trial will resume at 8:30 a.m. today.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.