Child Victims Have Some Unlikely Allies In Tulsa Courtroom

Friday, June 22nd 2012, 5:31 pm
By: News On 6

A judge ordered a man to stand trial on charges he molested his girlfriend's daughters Friday.

The judge also said Phillip Borden will remain in jail without bond, because he fled to Mexico for a year after learning he was being investigated.

His accusers had to wait a long time to testify, since Borden had to be extradited back to the U.S.

Talking about such personal and sexual things in a courtroom causes great anxiety, but these two girls had a little extra help Friday.

Morgan, a Saint Bernard, is a specially trained therapy dog, who sat next to a 17-year-old girl, while she testified in court about being molested, raped, and threatened by her mother's ex-boyfriend.

The girl's younger sister was accompanied to the stand by Boo, a Bichon Frise.

Advocates for children who have to testify in sex abuse cases said having the dogs provides a calming effect during a time filled with stress and anxiety.

"Something as simple as having a dog next to them or a therapy tool, something to do with their hands, to focus on while they're talking about really horrific events in their lives," said Assistant District Attorney, Andrea Brown.

In addition to the therapy dogs, the girls were accompanied to court by Bikers Against Child Abuse.

They go to court with children who have to testify, so they don't feel so alone, and feel protected.

Danny Forsythe, BACA President said, "Lot of times, when a child goes to court, their parents, siblings, family can't be in the courtroom with them. We're there as support for them when they have to get on the stand and tell the truth about what went on in their lives."

Often times, children are scared because the person they are testifying against is someone they know, a relative or friend.

Such was perhaps the case for these two girls—they were testifying against Phillip Borden, their mother's ex-boyfriend.

They said they spent the night at his house hundreds of times and he was like a father to them.

One said the abuse happened from the time she was eight until she was 14 years old.

Prosecutors said the treatment of child victims has improved over the years.

"I think we have a long way to go, but am grateful for the strides we've made," said Brown.

After the girls testified, prosecutors filed more charges against Borden—for a total of 15—that include many rape and molestation counts.

The judge ordered him to stand trial on all 15 counts.

He will be back in court in July.