Defense Accuses Victim of Being ‘Liar and Perjurer’ in Opening Statement of Sexual Assault Trial

By Sydney Kaplan

DUBLIN, CA – On the first day last week of Sean Jetter’s jury trial here in Alameda County Superior Court, the Public Defender made a strong attempt to discredit the victim by focusing on the circumstances surrounding the way the alleged crimes were reported.

Jetter is currently facing 12 charges for sexual assault. Four of these charges are for aggravated sexual assault and eight are for forceful sexual assault of a child under age 10.

Though these incidents happened when the victim was much younger, the victim did not confide in anyone until he was 16.

According to both the defense and the prosecution, the victim first confided in his mother in April 2017, while in a hospital bed after consuming too much marijuana.

However, controversy arose over the circumstances in which this marijuana was consumed.

The prosecution stated that the victim ate a marijuana brownie given to him by a kid named “Juan.” According to the prosecution, the victim was unaware that the brownie contained any marijuana.

The victim testified to this version of events during the preliminary hearing.

The defense, on the other hand, alleges that the victim knowingly smoked marijuana with his friends on this date, when he accidentally consumed too much.

A friend of the victim testified to the defense’s version of events, saying that he never saw a brownie or knew a kid named “Juan.” The friend also mentioned an unstable relationship between the victim and his mother at the time of the incident.

The victim’s friend testified that they used his pipe to smoke.

Because of the victim’s current relationship with his mother, the friend said he and the victim concocted a lie in order to avoid causing any more points of contention between the victim and his mother.

In an attempt to corroborate the story, the defense produced social media posts from 2017, specifically a birthday post from the victim to his friend.

This birthday post was lengthy, however it did mention a “memory only the two of them know about,” which the friend said was the alleged lie about how the victim consumed the marijuana and ended up in the hospital in April 2017.

During opening statements, the prosecution described the abuse in detail. the prosecution discussed the timeline of events as well as the circumstances behind many of the alleged incidents.

The defense, on the other hand, focused almost solely on the alleged white lie the victim told to his mother when he was 16 in order to avoid further harming their relationship.

The defense noted the victim’s love of singing, performing and love for attention may have led to false testimony.

The prosecution plans to bring in witnesses who are experts in the behavior of children who have been sexually abused and doctors who physically examined the victim.

The defense commented about these expert witnesses, stating that while these doctors can explain behaviors that are “consistent with” victims of sexual assault, they still cannot provide concrete evidence.

The defense ended the opening statement by capitalizing on both the alleged white lie and the lack of concrete evidence stating, “Listening to [the victim] would be relying on the word of a liar and a perjurer.”

The prosecution plans to bring in more experts and family members with hopes of further corroborating the victim’s story.

The trial is set to be ongoing in the following weeks.

About The Author

Sydney Kaplan is a rising third-year at Santa Clara University. With a Political Science major and Journalism & Economics minors, her main passion lies in discovering the various intersections between her fields of study. Currently, she is most interested in comparative media policy and criminal justice reform.

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