By Lois Yoo
ALAMEDA, CA – In an ongoing trial here in Alameda County Superior Court, Dept. 706, a man is charged with seven counts of sexual assault against his ex-wife’s children throughout their marriage.
Thursday, defendant Sean Jetter’s ex-wife testified against him, claiming, “Sean abused all of my children and me.”
Defense Attorney Patrick Ewing Clancy asked her, “You hated Sean Jetter, didn’t you?” She replied, “No, I did not hate my husband.”
Under questioning, the victims’ mother said her ex-husband was good with the children at first, adding, “It started out good. It always starts like that and gets bad over time.”
Attorney Clancy moved onto a specific incident where physical abuse was put into question. “Was there one occasion where Sean Jetter spanked your children with a belt?”
The victims’ mother answered, “I wouldn’t call it a spanking. It was a beating.”
At the time, CPS examined one of the children for any signs of physical abuse. In the report, no signs of abuse were recorded. The victims’ mother also admitted that she had not observed any signs of physical abuse on her child at the time.
Clancy reminded the victims’ mother she had reported to an officer in the past that there was not any physical abuse in the house. She only informed the officer of verbal abuse.
Six months later, the victims’ mother collected affidavits from her four children to submit. She claimed, “I had gotten advice from an attorney during divorce proceedings that I should get witness statements from my children.”
Clancy asserted, “There was not one accusation of sexual abuse there.”
Moving onto another issue, Clancy asked, “In 2015, did you file a response for Sean Jetter’s declaration where you said ‘Sean systematically forced me out of the marriage so he could be with one of his mistresses?’”
She explained that her neighbor informed her that Jetter was living in the house that they once shared with a woman he was dating. ”But that’s not what ended the marriage. The abuse ended the marriage.”
Referring to one of Victims’ mother’s children, Attorney Clancy asked, “Did he ever tell you he was afraid of you?” And, she answered, “My children have never been afraid of me.”
The first time the victims’ mother spoke to the police about her children and Jetter was in 2017. At that time, she believed it to be just physical abuse because she knew Jetter would wait until the middle of the night to abuse one of her children specifically. “My child told me that.”
She also shared that she was in Africa in February 2018. One of her children called her while she was there and told her “a long, horrible story about the full extent of the sexual abuse. He said he was (abused) repeatedly.”
“I came home from Africa early to report that to the police,” she said.
The case initiated by her child’s first conversation with the police in 2017 remained open since then because the victim “wasn’t ready to cooperate the first time we told the police. The detective told me she would leave it open. It’s not unusual for children to take some time to fully come forward.”
Once again, Attorney Clancy said, “At the time, you hated him. You hated Sean Jetter.” The victims’ mother responded, “I do not hate Sean Jetter. I feel sorry for him. I have moved on with my life. I’m married. The answer is no. I’m here for my son, sir.”
Deputy District Attorney Connie Rae Campbell briefly asked the victims’ mother whether she and her children have a relationship with their father now that they are older. She shared that her children do, but she just has a co-parenting relationship with him. They don’t interact and it is peaceful between the two of them.
The next witness to testify was Jennifer Kell, a Hayward Police Department homicide detective.
On April 25, 2017, Detective Kell was assigned to a case of one of the victims. At the time of the assignment, the victims’ mother was 15 years old.
The victim was five years old when he was sexually assaulted.
Detective Kell confirmed that Sean Jetter was identified as the one who committed the crime against the victim.
She described the process of setting up a pretext call between the victims and Jetter.
In a pretext call, the victim typically calls the suspect and attempts to initiate a response for evidence that the police can collect. The call was being recorded, but Jetter did not know law enforcement was listening in on their conversation.
Jetter did not answer at first when they used Detective Kell’s phone, which has a blocked number. Jetter answered the second time when the victims’ mother used his own cell phone.
Due to technical difficulties with the audio, all that was heard was the victims’ mother telling Jetter, “I’m trying to forgive you and move on. I haven’t been able to sleep.”
At the end of the interview and phone call, the victims’ mother was not certain on whether he wanted to fully move forward with the charges.
Detective Kell shared, “In my experience, victims are overwhelmed and are unable to make decisions at time of disclosures.” To give the victims’ mother time to think it over, Detective Kell left the investigation open until he was ready to proceed.
On Feb. 8, 2018, she received a phone call from the victims’ mother because she felt ready to share more information with her about the case.
The defendant was arrested on September 5, 2018.