BLOOMINGTON — Evidence that a teenage girl had been molested by a 48-year-old man will not include results of a hospital rape kit, an Advocate BroMenn Medical Center nurse testified Monday in the suspect's sexual abuse trial.
Registered nurse Kristi Bradford could not explain why tests routinely performed on alleged sex assault victims to collect potential evidence were not done on the teenage girl who told hospital staff she had been molested for eight months by Robert Wichmann.
Bradford said the medical records of the girl's 11-hour visit to the emergency room on June 1, 2016, do not include any reference to the sex assault kit. The records do, however, indicate that the girl was heavily intoxicated when she was brought to the hospital, said Bradford.
Hospital spokesman Eric Alvin said he could not comment on a specific patient issue.
Robert Wichmann's bench trial opened Monday on four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Five other sexual abuse counts were dismissed.
The alleged victim's brother testified Monday that he had concerns about his sister's apparent relationship with Wichmann.
The witness said he convinced her to call Wichmann and urge him to make incriminating statements while the call was being recorded. After the call, the girl called her mother from her brother's home and disclosed the abuse, according to his testimony.
The call is expected to be played in court Tuesday as part of the girl's testimony.
Wichmann found the perfect target for his sexual advances in a troubled teenage girl whose long absences from home went unchecked, according to opening statements by Assistant State's Attorney Jacob Harlow.
Wichmann picked up on signs that the girl was vulnerable, including her mental illness and lack of supervision by a mother "who couldn't have cared less," said Harlow.
The girl's relationship with the adult defendant quickly turned deviant, said Harlow, as he "fed her, drove her around and spent all his time with her."
Wichmann gave the girl a cat that stayed at his home.
During the months Wichmann had access to the girl, he used "pornography, drugs and other trusted means to get her to comply with his sexual advances," said Harlow. "He saw an opportunity to prey on a broken little girl and took full advantage of that opportunity."
Defense lawyer Jennifer Patton waived an opening statement.
When the girl takes the witness stand for her anticipated testimony Tuesday, she may be reluctant to tell her story, Harlow warned Judge Scott Drazewski. The child now is in DCFS custody and going to school on a consistent basis and receiving mental health care, he said.
Drazewski told Harlow and Patton that he is willing to reverse a ruling he made last week to prohibit a support dog from accompanying the alleged victim to the courtroom for her testimony. The judge based his ruling on the potential prejudice to Wichmann if jurors saw the girl with a dog.
Without jurors at what is now a bench trial, the issue of prejudice was moot, the judge said Monday.
Harlow said the state would consider the new ruling. He said child advocates have talked with the girl and other options were discussed to help alleviate her anxiety on the witness stand.