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Jurors deliberating rape trial evidence

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 by Krystal Paco

Guam - The fate of 61-year-old Francis Jude Taitano rests with the jury.

Parties addressed jurors one last time before they head into deliberations.

Allegations of rape have torn one family apart.

"The culture here puts the family first," stated prosecutor Jeremiah Luther, saying this is why it took nearly seven years for the alleged victim to report an incident that occurred while she was under the care of Taitano in his Yigo home. The girl was only 10-years-old at the time.

Although testimony from family show the girl didn't behave differently after the alleged rape, expert testimony shows that male victims are more likely to act out, while female victims are more likely to internalize their emotions. Luther read an excerpt of the victim's statement to police, saying, "I was too scared to move or do anything. When the next day arrived, I acted like nothing was wrong. I was still scared."

It was back in May 2007 the victim was sleeping in the same room with Taitano and his wife, Kathy. In the middle of the night, Taitano woke her up, called her to the back patio, and allegedly forced her to touch his privates. Taitano then called her back into the bedroom and told the girl to watch him and Kathy have sex. Because Kathy refused and went back to sleep, Taitano allegedly raped the young girl instead.

Defense attorney Mark Kondas argues there's not enough evidence to convict Taitano for the crime.

"This whole case was a rush to judgment. The police did not do a proper investigation," he said.

Kondas reminded jurors that justice is fairness and asked them to put themselves in Taitano's shoes.

"If someone had brought an accusation, a horrible accusation against you, wouldn't you want the police to do an investigation to verify that accusation before they make an arrest? I'll let you answer that question," he said.

Jurors are now in deliberations.
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