Oklahoma City, OK (DailyHaze) – On Monday, Oklahoma judge Matthew Sheets looked past forensic evidence against a former Oklahoma police officer, Martin Stites, that indicated he sexually assaulted a 3-year-old-girl.
Sheets came to this conclusion when the now 4-year-old girl was having problems telling the court what happened to her, as her attacker stared her down from across the court room.
Sheets dismissed the charges against Stites and instead sentenced the young girls father to one year in jail. The father was sentenced after an outburst during court in response to how his daughter was being treated. The McAlester News Capitol reported the scene as follows.
“The preliminary hearing started with an intense exchange between prosecutors Scharn and Christina Burns and Stites’ defense attorney, Jeremy Beaver, over the issue of whether the victim should be allowed to have her grandfather sit next to her while she testified. Beaver told the court a main defense is whether the alleged victim is competent to testify or if she was coached to accuse Stites of the crimes.
Once Beaver said he had his concerns about the victim’s competency, a noise was made in the area where the child’s family was sitting in the courtroom. Immediately, Sheets demanded silence during the proceedings and warned any outbursts wouldn’t be tolerated.
The attorney’s agreed a district attorney’s office representative would be allowed to sit with the now 4-year-old while she testified.
It was during the victim’s testimony when things quickly turned ugly. Burns asked the victim if she could identify her assailant in the courtroom. The victim gave an answer, but the answer was not completely audible. Burns said she thought the victim said something along the lines of ‘I don’t know,’ but the victim’s father wanted to point out she had said “I don’t want to look at him.”
The father was quickly shushed by family around him, but Beaver pointed out the outburst as a conflict because he feared the child would now answer questions seeking approval from family members. Sheets ordered the father leave the courtroom.
“Can I come back?” the father asked Sheets.
Sheets told the father that he was not allowed back in the courtroom and the father took exception. While exiting the the courtroom the father used explicit language to convey his displeasure with the court and loudly pushed open the courtroom door. Sheets ordered Pittsburg County Sheriff Deputy Mike Cathey to arrest the father for being in contempt in court.
After a short break, the father reappeared in the courtroom with handcuffs on as he was escorted by a deputy. Sheets asked him what he said while exiting the courtroom and the father confirmed he used foul language. Sheets sentenced the man to six months in the Pittsburg County Justice Center.
The father then tuned to Stites and used several cuss words to voice his displeasure with him. Sheets then used his gavel to restore order and sentenced the man to an additional six months in the county jail, citing a second violation.
After the father was taken away from the courtroom, the preliminary hearing started again. The child offered testimony, using a nickname for Stites, indicating the individual had touched her with his hand on her private areas. However, many of the questions asked by Burns to the 4-year-old were met with a ‘I don’t know’ response and her telling officials she did not want to answer some of the questions.”
Stites was originally charged with two counts of sexual assault – child under 12 and one count of lewd molestation. Judge Sheets dismissed all charges during the preliminary hearing. Sheets then ordered Stites to stand trial for a new charge of lewd molestation.
Stites, 57, is a retired McAlester Police Lieutenant who served 22 years on the force. Stites was arrested in May, after watching the 3-year-old by request of the girls mother. Authorities at the time said that forensic analysis had indicated the girl had been sexually assaulted. It was also reported that Stites burned the diaper and possibly other clothing that the young girl was wearing at the time of the assault.
Judge Sheets has successfully molested this young girl for a second time. In one day, he made the young girl go in front of a courtroom of strangers, along with her attacker, and talk about being molested. He then took the girls father away from her for a year and dismissed the young girls traumatizing testimony. This preliminary trial was a total mockery of the justice system.
District 18 Assistant District Attorney Adam Scharn plans to appeal against Sheets’ decision from Monday.