Genuine Confusion at Trial: Trial Delayed as Mental State of Alleged Victim’s Mother Becomes Key to Clarifying Sex Assault Allegation

By Lois Yoo

ALAMEDA, CA – Complications involving a victim’s sexual assault case arose in a jury trial here in Alameda County Superior Court – there was reference to spotty communication with the victim’s mother, who struggles with a mental condition – delaying the proceedings.

Defendant Sean D. Jetter has been charged with seven counts of sexual assault and abuse on a child 10 years old or under.

But the court agreed to hold the trial Wednesday because of genuine confusion.

The mother’s mental state was brought into discussion because she claims to have a mental condition that causes her to not be able to “handle relationships and ruins them.”

Defense Attorney Patrick Ewing Clancy clarified, “According to her. Herself. I don’t know if she’s self-diagnosing or if she’s saying what her therapist told her.”

The mother’s own family members have been largely impacted by her mental health issues and reportedly problematic behavior.

Attorney Clancy shared, “(She) has made false allegations against her brother, her sister, and her mother. Her brother has literally left the country to be away from her. Her sister hasn’t dealt with her in 10 years because of this and is afraid of her; doesn’t even want to come to court. She’s so afraid of her.”

Attorney Clancy also stated that her own daughter is afraid of her.

DA Connie Rae Campbell claimed that the condition of her relationship with her mother and sister is irrelevant to the case, and noted “this is the person who was being put in charge of whether my client was going to be charged.”

Defendant Jetter is currently facing 220 years plus life in prison.

The alleged victim had been asked whether they wanted to bring charges to which they answered, “Whatever my mother wants to do.”

Attorney Clancy states the child “passed over the decision-making to pursue this to the woman who has all sorts of problems and this is, I believe, the source of problems and lousy relationships with everyone.”

Attorney Clancy read an email from someone describing the mother of the said victim as someone with “dependent personality disorder, low self-esteem, did things to sabotage relationships.”

There was also an allegation that the mother is abusive. Attorney Clancy stated, “My client is a yeller, but (the mother) is the one who hit.”

This came to their attention when the daughter ran away to her teacher’s house and told her teacher that her mother was being abusive.

The mother threatened the teacher because she was keeping her daughter away from her and ended up taking further action by filing a restraining order against the teacher and attempting to get the teacher fired from her job.

One of Attorney Clancy’s witnesses called the mother “a psycho” and the DDA acknowledged that “There’s some real dysfunction going on here.”

Judge Amy L. Sekany claimed that other people diagnosing the mother “is directly linked to her credibility on these issues.”

Further logistical complications began to rise when Attorney Clancy noted the mother “blamed two people for this rape and evidence from one of these people comes from the CPS worker” that Clancy was attempting to get permission from the court to contact.

Clancy was previously denied this access from an Oakland court in the past even though he describes the CPS worker as “highly relevant” to the case.

Judge Sekany acknowledged that it was a real issue to not have clarity in who the mother has accused and whether she has accused anyone at all.

Judge Sekany clarified, “She accuses two different people. She accuses (a family member) and he can’t possibly be the person because I understand he wasn’t even around at the time.”

DDA Campbell pointed out that it was not the mother who alleged anything. It was actually the victim’s oldest sibling.

The mother, he said, only made a statement saying that (the defendant) may have raped her daughter.

With this lack of clarity, Attorney Clancy stated, “There are so many issues here.”

Judge Sekany agreed and felt that the court could not move forward until the allegation and source of the allegation were clarified, and decided to delay the case for a day.

About The Author

Lois Yoo is a third year at UC Berkeley and is originally from Los Angeles, California.

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