Crime & Courts

Alleged victim testifies at Crystal Lake man's sex abuse trial

David J. Tapley, 53, of Crystal Lake
David J. Tapley, 53, of Crystal Lake

The sexual abuse a young girl alleges to have experienced at the hands of a relative began when the two played guitar and sang together in a local church’s children’s choir, she said Tuesday.

The trial of a 53-year-old Crystal Lake man charged with sexually abusing a girl for five years resumed Tuesday with testimony from the alleged victim. Jurors were escorted out of the courtroom as the teen entered the witness stand alongside her service dog.

As the girl testified, the dog occasionally peeked over the stand or stood on the girl’s lap. McHenry County Judge James Cowlin told jurors not to consider the animal during deliberation.

David J. Tapley faces as many as seven years in prison if he is convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Allegations surfaced in an online forum, where the girl wrote that a male relative abused her, she said Tuesday. The girl hoped a concerned online friend would report the abuse to authorities, since she didn’t have the strength to tell anyone, she said. It came as a shock, however, when investigators arrived at her home June 4, 2015, she testified.

“[She] was certainly surprised that her online story had circled back to her front door,” defense attorney Francisco Botto said.

Days later, the girl gave her full account of the abuse that allegedly began when she and Tapley participated together in the children’s choir at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Cary. Church representatives could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The trial will continue Wednesday, with potential testimony from Tapley.

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