Lyons, N.Y. --- The first day of testimony in the trial of Richard Dallas, 25, began with the mother of the nine month-old alleged rape victim taking the stand.
"It's very hard to re-live the day but I try to keep calm and collected for my kids," the victim's mother said after her testimony. "I hope he gets life with no parole."
13WHAM News is not identifying her to protect her privacy.
On the stand, this woman spoke about the events of November 30, 2011 and how she left her baby in the care of Richard Dallas for between four and five hours while she attended to matters with the Department of Labor and a parent-teacher conference at the school of one of her other children. When she returned she said she found Dallas lying on the couch with the baby on his chest. She said the girl was pale and looked sick.
"No, I didn't think anything like this was possible. I didn't see any signs of it or nothing," the mother said while noting that she's known Dallas for three or four years.
"It's very difficult. The allegations are so horrible the injury was so bad to a nine month-old," Wayne County District Attorney Rick Healy said of the case. "I think it's difficult for all of us, I know it's difficult for me"
An eight count indictment charges Dallas with Predatory Sexual Assault Against a Child, Aggravated Sexual Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Assault 1st Degree as Sexually Motivated Felonies, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. If convicted of the top count, Predatory Sexual Assault of a Child, Dallas is looking at a possible life sentence.
"There was some discussion of a plea but I wasn't willing to recommend anything less than the maximum," Healy said. "If I can't prove the case and he's innocent then that's fine but if he's guilty of committing this kind of a crime in my opinion he deserves the maximum sentence, no question about it."
Another witness called to the stand Tuesday was the manager of a Lyons store who testified that she witnessed Dallas enter her store and purchase antiseptic wipes during the time period that he was supposedly alone with the baby. The witness said she asked about the baby and that Dallas said she wasn't doing well and that she was bleeding from her rear.
Lyons Police Chief Richard Bogan testified to the multiple interviews he and investigators conducted with Dallas over the days that followed November 30th. Chief Bogan said, at one point, Dallas said a friend came over and that during that visit he caught the friend upstairs with the baby having sex. Chief Bogan said Dallas later recanted that statement and that Dallas, despite offering many versions of his story, never said he did anything to the child.
"It's a case that not so much as a police officer but as a parent really gets your attention and makes you focus on what you have to do," Chief Bogan said after his testimony.
Medical witnesses called Tuesday included the baby's pediatrician who described a routine wellness exam that the child received just two days prior to the alleged crimes; she said the baby exhibited no health problems whatsoever. A paramedic who responded to the Lyons home on the afternoon of November 30th described the child as being pale and listless. A surgeon, a pediatrician, and a nurse practitioner at Strong Memorial Hospital all spoke about various injuries they diagnosed, surgical procedures they conducted, and evidence they recovered during the baby's visit immediately following the mother's 9-1-1 call.
The girl, who is now 16 months-old, is said to be rapidly improving after many surgical procedures that kept her in the hospital for weeks. A surgeon called to the witness stand testified that death would have been "almost inevitable" had the baby not received immediate medical care.
Dallas' lawyers, Bruce Chambers and Jim DePoint, cross-examined each witness and narrowed in on areas where reasonable doubt may exist. In opening arguments DePoint stated that Dallas sitting in court during this trial says he's "not guilty" and that he doesn't have to prove anything; that is up to the prosecutor. Both lawyers raised questions about other witnesses or people who may have been in or near the home on November 30th. They also questioned medical personnel about conclusions they were drawing as to the alleged act or acts that may have caused the injuries they treated.
Members of Dallas' family were in court to support him and while they declined any interviews they tell 13WHAM News that they wonder how much Dallas understands of the proceedings. They say he reads at an elementary school grade level and he looks uninterested and perhaps in poor health after losing a noticeable amount of weight while in jail over the last six months.
The bench trial could wrap up Thursday and it will be up to Wayne County Judge Dennis Kehoe to render a verdict following testimony.
D.A. Healy said he intends to rest his case Wednesday following the testimony of a DNA analyst who will link Dallas to evidence recovered during the investigation.
The defense said they do intend to call witnesses and offer proof on Thursday, but they would not elaborate as to what proof that may be.