By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer
CLINTON — Assistant Clinton County Attorney Ross Barlow rested his case against Jason Boutwell, 33, Tuesday afternoon, after his alleged 12-year-old victim testified.
Boutwell currently faces seven counts of second-degree sexual abuse and 60 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. The state alleges that between February 2006 and January 2012, he sexually abused and exploited the victim.
Fidgeting in her seat and wrapping her arms in front of her, the alleged victim testified in a small voice. After identifying pictures of herself in sexual positions and performing sexual acts, the girl told Barlow that she does not remember a time in which Boutwell, who she used to call Dad, lived with them that the abuse was not occurring.
Clinton County Sheriff’s Deputy Jessup Schroeder told the court Monday that the defendant said he had been in a relationship with the girl’s mother since the victim was a year old. In that same testimony, Schroeder told the court that Boutwell admitted to using a “guest computer” in the house and downloading programs onto it.
In his cross examination of Schroeder on Tuesday morning, defense attorney Bruce Ingham had the witness confirm that he has training in questioning a witness with the hope of getting information one would be hesitant to disclose. From the questioning, Schroeder testified that Boutwell did cooperate with him and speak with him, even though he did not have to. Ingham asked if Boutwell maintained his innocence to any allegations of sexual abuse, to which Schroeder responded with a “yes.”
As to the computer that Boutwell admitted using, Ingham asked Schroeder if anyone else used it. The witness stated that the defendant said his two young sons, a 14-year-old son of his girlfriend and her sister all used it. Later in the day, the victim testified that she knew of no one besides Boutwell who used it.
Ingham also asked Schroeder if he ever told his client that he had illegal pictures with the alleged victim that clearly showed Boutwell, even though the person in question is not identifiable in the photographs. Schroeder replied affirmatively and admitted that Boutwell continued to maintain his innocence.
Tuesday morning, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Ward Crawley was called to the stand to discuss photographs he found on one of the computers seized from the victim’s home Jan. 27, 2012. Crawley has served in the cyber unit as a forensic computer examiner as part of the Iowa Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for the past seven years. The witness detailed his use of EnCase software to search the devices for any contraband images.
“In this case we were looking for pictures of child pornography,” Crawley said.
Crawley received two desktop computers, a laptop computer, two flashdrives and a digital camera with an SD card. He told the court that after examining all of the devices, he found contraband images only on the computer tower identified as police evidence item No. 6, also identified as the “guest computer” Boutwell admitted to using.
Crawley explained to the jurors that whenever a person deletes an item from his computer, that item remains in “unallocated space” until something else uses that space. With software available to him, he is able to retrieve those deleted items that have not been cleared.
“It could be there forever. It just depends how big the hard drive is and how much data needs to be stored,” Crawley said.
Crawley detailed files found in both the allocated and unallocated spaces on the computer, which fit the conversation Schroeder testified he had with the defendant. He recovered two resumes with Boutwell’s name with the e-mail email@example.com listed as a contact for him.
Crawley testified that “zyelos” was a username on the computer, along with the administrator and guest user accounts. He linked the resumes, as well as several downloaded Japanese henti images to the “zyelos” user account. The images in unallocated space could not be linked to any specific account, date or times because they were deleted and that information was stripped.
Crawley testified to finding 64 images of child pornography. Looking at a family photo with Boutwell and the victim, he identified that child as the one in the illegal photographs. Monday, Clinton Police Officer Shane Haskell also identified the girl in these contraband photos as the alleged victim.
Ingham objected to the admission of the photos in question into evidence due to relevance, but Barlow argued that the images clearly constitute illegal contraband and were on a computer the defendant admits to using. The objection was overruled and the evidence was accepted. Barlow passed the pictures out to the jury, waiting for each member to look at the images.
In cross examination, Ingham asked Crawley if images can be saved to a computer accidentally while burning a CD. Crawley agreed that is true. He also acknowledged the computer in question does have a DVD drive.
Crawley had indicated that a large amount of Japanese henti images was found on the computer, images the defendant told Schroeder he liked. Crawley also found history links to websites showing henti. After being questioned by Ingham, the witness conceded that by visiting a website, a person could have saved photos they did not mean to save.
In the final testimony of the day, the alleged victim answered Barlow’s questions concerning the 64 explicit photographs, going page by page on the 22-page packet of the photos. Barlow pointed out that many of the photos showed an adult hand or male genitalia touching her body. She identified these body parts as belonging to the defendant.
Barlow asked the girl if she wanted to do this or was happy with what she was doing in each picture. She responded with a quiet “no.” He then asked her why she was posing in that position or doing a particular action.
“Jason (Boutwell) told me to,” the alleged victim stated.
The girl was unable to recall just how many times the defendant touched her, adding that he did touch her inappropriately more times than just when he photographed her. She also testified that she had seen the pictures before the case began, from her bedroom. She said Boutwell was at the computer looking at the photos, making them larger and smaller.
In his cross examination, Ingham asked her if her mother was ever mean to her, calling her bad names, making her do all the chores and treating her siblings better. The victim agreed with that statement. He also had the victim confirm that her mother had three male friends come over to the house when Boutwell was not there.
After the jury was released for the day, Ingham made a motion that some if not all of the sexual abuse charges be dismissed, arguing that the state did not have sufficient evidence to prove sexual abuse happened seven times when even the victim was unsure. He also asked that the 60 sexual exploitation charges be dismissed.
Barlow argued the pictures show at least seven images of a sex act and that the victim was able to identify that one type of act occurred more than five times and another happened at least two times. He also pointed out that the State has more than 60 pornographic and illegal photographs to support the exploitation charges.
The judge will make a decision on the motion today. Ingham was to make his opening statements this morning.
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