JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Opening statements are scheduled Tuesday afternoon in the trial of a man accused of allowing a convicted sex offender and another man to have sex with his then-9-year-old daughter.
Christopher Perry, 42, is facing eight counts of sexual battery, conspiracy to commit sexual battery, lewd and lascivious molestation and child neglect. His wife, Mary Perry, has pleaded guilty to related charges and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
The couple is charged with allowing Michael Halveland and Robert Young (pictured, right) to have sex with their daughter.
Perry's daughter testified in court Tuesday, describing in detail how she said her father's best friend Young forced her to have sex, telling the court her parents allowed "Uncle Robert" to live in her bedroom and sleep in her bed every night.
Her words brought tears to the eyes of some of the jurors and left others shaking their heads.
Perry appeared to show no emotion in the courtroom. Prosecutors say he did nothing to protect his daughter from a sexual predator, going as far to defend Young when investigators raised their suspicions.
Perry's defense attorney said he didn't know anything sexual was going on between his friend and his daughter, something the prosecution calls "unfathomable" considering the living arrangements coupled with the fact that the girl vocalized her concerns.
"She goes through an entire history of sexual abuse by him, she says several times how mom and dad and grandma knew, she said several times how she couldn't get this to stop," prosecutor Jessica Villella said of the victim in opening statements.
"You're not going to like Chris Perry," defense attorney Julie Schlax told the jury Tuesday. "You may very well find that he is absolutely guilty of child neglect, but there is no evidence to support that he ever intended for these things to happen to his child."
The girl's second-grade teacher, who was one of those who alerted police to the living arrangements she felt were inappropriate, also testified Tuesday. More witnesses are expected to take the stand as the trial continues Wednesday.
Halveland has pleaded guilty to lewd and lascivious molestation and is awaiting sentencing. Young, a registered sex offender, is awaiting trial.
The girl's grandmother, Patricia Woloszynowski, is also charged with allowing the sexual abuse to take place. She's awaiting trial.
The Perrys and the grandmother were initially charged with child neglect, but the charges were upgraded to sexual battery because prosecutors say they were active participants in the conspiracy.
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