Second teen tells jury Davenport raped him

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 4, 2010

The second teen accuser in the trial of Dane Davenport took the stand Wednesday and testified to three instances of rape by the state trooper and three of fondling.

Davenport, 47, 407 Warren St., a master sergeant in the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol, showed little emotion as the boy, now 16, testified. The teen alternately sat facing the jurors with his back to the defendant or turned to glare at him while answering questions.

Testifying for about 2½ hours in both morning and afternoon sessions, the teen said the abuse began with fondling when he was 9 years old, and escalated by degrees. “I was confused,” he said. “It didn’t feel right. I didn’t know what to do.”

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He said he was 13 when Davenport raped him, and that he never reported it because he was afraid. “He’s bigger than me and he’s a highway patrolman,” the youth said. “And he’s stronger than me.”

In every instance but one, he said, the abuse occurred while a number of other people were nearby. “He was out of control,” the teen charged, but the youth could not cry out during the assaults because Davenport held his hand over the boy’s mouth.

Once, the youth testified, Davenport’s brother walked in on the defendant fondling the youth, watched “for a minute” and then walked out of the room without attempting to stop it or reporting it, as would be mandated by law because Davenport’s brother is a medical professional.

Defense attorney John Zelbst questioned the credibility of that accusation, as well as the claims that such abuse could take place with a number of people nearby. He challenged other parts of the youth’s testimony by detailing contradictions with previous statements made by the teen to investigators and in previous court testimony, quoting from several transcripts.

The trial, Davenport’s fourth in about 18 months, is the second in Warren County Circuit Court on the nine-count indictment accusing him of sexual battery and molestation. His first trial in September 2008 ended in a mistrial with jurors unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

Davenport also was tried twice in Oktibbeha County before being found innocent there of one count of fondling the same youth who testified Wednesday. His first trial, in October 2008, lasted only a few minutes before a mistrial was declared because of improper testimony.

Also testifying Wednesday, Ridgeland psychiatrist Dr. Wood Hiatt, an expert in child and adolescent psychiatry, said he interviewed the two brothers who have accused Davenport and conducted an evaluation “on a broad scale” that included talking with the boys’ mother and reviewing records.

Hiatt said the boys’ statements, “within a degree of scientific certainty,” are consistent with having been sexually abused, but agreed on cross examination that some characteristics of such children are shared by children who have not been abused.

The trial is in its fourth day, having begun with jury selection Monday and with testimony by the older brother Tuesday. Both boys have said Davenport fondled and raped them, and prosecutor Stan Alexander said the state trooper is an example of why “you can’t judge a book by its cover.”

Zelbst told jurors his defense will prove that Davenport is the victim of false accusations engineered by the boys’ mother in an attempt to protect her stake in a personal financial relationship with the defendant.

Before court opened Wednesday, presiding Judge Isadore Patrick dismissed one of the alternate jurors because of a death in her family. The trial continues with a panel of six men and six women, and one woman alternate.

Contact Pamela Hitchins at