Victim’s DNA not present on evidence in Garfield County sexual assault trial |

Victim’s DNA not present on evidence in Garfield County sexual assault trial

Judge's gavel

After multiple tests, investigators determined an alleged victim’s DNA was not present on an object that prosecutors say William Korn used to assault his stepdaughter in 2016.

Korn is charged with sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, a class 3 felony, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

During the second day of trial, the jury heard testimony from Colorado Bureau of Investigations analyst Denise Vensel, who worked on analyzing the object.

Over the course of several months, Vensel conducted several tests, and began using a STRMix, relatively new software that allows forensic investigators to test the probability that a person’s DNA is present in a mix of multiple people’s cells in one sample.

That analysis, conducted throughout 2019, determined there was very low probability that the girl’s DNA was on the object. A Jan. 21, 2020, further confirmed that the girl’s DNA was not on the object.

The lack of the girl’s DNA can’t prove that the object touched the girl, Vensel testified, but it also can’t prove that the girl was never touched with the object.

DNA could have been degraded from the object due to heat, or if the object was used by other people or washed, Vensel said.

The jury also viewed the video of a 2017 interview with the alleged victim 8 months after the alleged incident conducted by RiverBridge, a victim advocacy organization.

In it, the girl said that her stepfather supplied her with an alcoholic beverage, took her into his room, and used an object to sexually abuse her.

The defense attorneys claim the alleged assault never happened, and that the allegations are filled with inconsistencies.

 “Generally, in an interview, children do not provide all the detail” of an assault, Bridget Derkash, formerly of RiverBridge, told the jury.

But while further interviews may provide more detail, RiverBridge doesn’t conduct more than one interview with a child for a single incident to avoid the trauma of revisiting memories of the assault.

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