The first day of testimony in the rape trial of Jeremy Caraway took place Tuesday in Harlan Circuit Court.
Caraway, 38, of Loyall, is the former pastor of Loyall Church of God. He has been charged with two counts of second-degree rape, two counts of second-degree sodomy, two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, two counts of first-degree unlawful transaction with a minor and one count of use of an electronic communications system to procure a minor for a sexual offense. He was arrested on the charges in May 2011.
With the jury seated, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Karen Davenport opened the case for the state in front of Judge Robert McGinnis.
Davenport told the jury in her opening statement the state intended to prove Caraway had developed a relationship with a 13-year-old girl.
According to Davenport, several sexually explicit episodes occurred between Caraway and the victim in the weeks prior to Caraway’s arrest. Davenport stated the first instance occurred prior to a school dance, with another taking place when the victim and Caraway met under the pretense of a church group meeting that did not take place. Other instances allegedly occurred at the victim’s home and at the church.
Davenport said the activity ended when relatives of the victim discovered messages that had been exchanged between the victim and Caraway on Facebook.
Linda West, Caraway’s attorney, reserved her opening statement until later in the trial.
Davenport first called the alleged victim to the stand. This testimony will not be reported due to the alleged victim being a minor.
Davenport entered into evidence 24 pages of Facebook messages that were allegedly exchanged between the victim and Caraway.
Davenport pointed out several of the messages contained explicit sexual references.
Kentucky State Police Trooper James Earl Hensley testified he took the initial complaint.
According to Hensley, the victim’s grandfather brought her to KSP Post 10. After questioning, the victim went to Harlan ARH Hospital for an examination, which included a “rape kit.”
Kentucky State Police Det. Mike Cornett, who investigated the case, testified that Caraway had admitted to writing the Facebook messages.
According to Cornett, Caraway said many of the messages were a result of “role playing” with the victim.
Under cross examination by West, Cornett testified Caraway had denied any sexual contact with the victim.
Leslie Howard, a social services worker assigned to the case, also testified for the state.
Howard testified she interviewed Caraway in jail. According to Howard, Caraway told her during the interview that he was role playing in order to keep the victim happy when he wrote the messages.
Howard also testified Caraway denied any sexual contact with the victim.
Davenport concluded the case for the commonwealth at a little after 4 p.m., with court adjourning shortly after.
The defense will present their case today with testimony beginning at 9 a.m.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, firstname.lastname@example.org