Judge delays child molestation trial

By: Nico Rubello | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published October 10, 2012

MOUNT CLEMENS — A child molestation trial has been delayed for two Fraser residents being tried in Macomb County Circuit Court.

Stanley Duncan, 66, is charged with multiple counts of first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct for alleged acts with young girls who his wife, Vita Duncan, was watching at their home on 14 Mile in Fraser.

The Duncans routinely were paid to baby-sit the children of acquaintances, said the father of one of the alleged victims.

Another girl, now in her late teens, also has accused Stanley Duncan of molesting her when she was a child.

Vita Duncan, 62, is accused of running an unlicensed daycare center. She also is charged with aiding and abetting her husband’s alleged misconduct because one of the three accusers, who was 3 at the time of the accusation, said Vita was aware of Stanley’s alleged misconduct, but did nothing.

Defense attorney Timothy Barkovic, who is representing Stanley Duncan, called the case a “modern-day witch hunt,” and said the allegations have no credibility.

The trial has progressed through jury selection and opening statements and was partway into testimony on Oct. 2 when Judge Matthew Switalski granted a stay of trial until Oct. 10 so prosecutors had time to appeal his decision not to permit past testimony by one of the victims.

Switalski ruled on Sept. 28 that the now 4-year-old girl was not capable of testifying because she said she couldn’t tell the difference between the truth and a lie. The 4-year-old’s parents had already testified about their daughter’s accusations, which were made to them in early July 2011.

Prosecutors then petitioned for past testimony the girl made during a preliminary examination in district court to be introduced into the trial as evidence. Switalski ruled against it, and prosecutors appealed the decision in appeals court.

Barkovic said such a move would deny the defense its right to cross-examine witnesses in open court.

Barkovic also said the accusations were inconsistent and without merit. “The stories have grown from a simple touching to sexual conduct to full-blown penetration,” he said.

He added that pediatricians found no evidence of penetration or symptoms consistent with sexual abuse.

“What we have here is a case of mass hysteria amongst several people who have previously been baby-sat by Vita Duncan,” Barkovic added.

Barkovic said the teenage accuser’s allegations are “based on a false assumption about a repressed memory.”

In a separate case, Vita Duncan has filed for divorce.