A 9-year-old girl told a Hall County jury Tuesday, March 27, she was “scared to tell” people about the alleged sexual assault she endured.
The testimony came as Tommy Shane Brooks of Buford appeared in Superior Court Judge Andrew Fuller’s courtroom.
Brooks is charged with rape, aggravated child molestation, six counts of first-degree child cruelty and four counts of child molestation.
The child molestation counts name four separate victims under age 16.
In his opening statements, Assistant District Attorney Harold Buckler said the 9-year-old girl told another child about her experience and asked for secrecy. The girl eventually told her mother, who then took her daughter to talk to the school counselor, Buckler said.
She later underwent a forensic interview and a sexual assault exam.
One boy who was also allegedly sexually assaulted said he would “hit (himself) in the head to stop those memories,” Buckler said in his opening statement.
When addressing the jury, defense attorney Lynn Akeley-Alderman suggested there was a “rush to judgment” about her client.
Three of the counts in the indictment allege Brooks “caused cruel and excessive physical and mental pain by shooting” three children under age 18 with a pellet gun.
Akeley-Alderman said the incident involved plastic airsoft guns.
“They were playing something, like boys do. And they were all equipped with toys, like boys tend to have,” she said.
The 9-year-old girl was the first witness to take the stand around 11 a.m. She described to Buckler feeling a stinging sensation and said she “felt like something was broken” for two months.
“When I was starting to feel like I needed to tell someone, I told my mom,” the girl said.
“What made you feel like you needed to tell someone?” Buckler asked.
“Because I knew something was wrong,” the girl replied.
When Buckler asked why the child asked another child to keep her story secret, the girl said she was “scared to tell.”
Akeley-Alderman cross-examined the girl by asking to clarify details about when and where the alleged incidents took place.
The state is expected to call another handful of witnesses Wednesday morning, March 28, when the case resumes.