(Reuters) - A 13-year-old girl secretly made cellphone recordings of her father coaching her to lie to the Pennsylvania judge overseeing his prosecution for charges he physically assaulted her, prosecutors said on Tuesday.
The girl shared the recordings with a Monroe Country prosecutor last week ahead of a hearing in county court in Stroudsburg, according to a criminal complaint filed in court.
“I was shocked at what I was watching,” Julieane Fry, the prosecutor the girl approached, said in a telephone interview.
The girl’s father, Deyon Taylor, was charged last June with simple assault and other charges after prosecutors say he attacked the girl, according to court filings.
Taylor, 56, had been released on bail of $5,000, and spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve traveling with his daughter and her mother.
The girl, who has not been publicly named, asked to meet Fry in private ahead of a status conference hearing for her father on Friday. She told the prosecutor she was afraid of her father and had videos of “him coaching her to tell the judge and the police that she lied about the incident in June,” the criminal complaint said.
In the first video recording made last Thursday, Taylor can be hearing telling his daughter to say she was never hurt. He tells her to say that she only said she was “because she was mad that he told her she could not talk to friends or have her laptop,” the complaint said. The video camera lens was pointed at the ceiling in the recording.
In the second video recorded a day later, the complaint said the girl’s legs are visible as Taylor appears to coach her again, saying: “‘Did he choke me? No! Did he hurt me? No! Was he being stern with me? Yes!’”
The second video was apparently recorded as Taylor drove with his daughter to Friday’s hearing, the complaint said.
“She’s an extremely brave 13-year-old and I was very impressed with her ability to come forward and do that,” Fry said in the interview.
Detectives investigated and Taylor has since been charged with intimidation of a witness and hindering apprehension, and he was jailed in Monroe County after his bail was revoked. Those charges will be combined with the assault charges in a case likely to begin in March, Fry said.
Taylor’s lawyer, a public defender, did not respond to a request for comment.
Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Frank McGurty and Susan Thomas