Defense Objects to Expert Testimony at Trial Of...

By Maria Miller
September 5, 2015

Defense attorneys for a Central City priest accused of inappropriately touching young boys on mission trips overseas argued Thursday against an expert witness testifying at his trial. The Rev. Joseph Maurizio goes on trial next week. Prosecutors added an expert witness to their list of those who will testify, and a federal judge considered request on Thursday. Maurizio walked into the courtroom Thursday afternoon looking gaunt, his hands in a prayerful pose, and no family or friends to support him. Only his defense team was at his side. The prosecution's expert witness, Dr. Veronique Valliere, is a licensed psychologist from the Allentown area who specializes in interpersonal violence, including physical and sexual abuse of children. Prosecutors said they plan to use her toward the end of the trial to help the jury better understand children of sexual abuse victims and the myths surrounding the ways they should or shouldn't behave. Valliere said she hasn't talked to any of the alleged victims and doesn't know anything about the case. When Maurizio's defense team asked if she had any experience with children from Honduras, she said she didn't. They told the judge was the reason for their objections. U.S. District Judge Kim Gibson said he would take the night to look over the arguments and issue a decision on Friday. Defense attorneys are also asking for their own expert witness, who they said they plan to use solely to rebut the commonwealth's expert. Gibson said he doesn't see why he wouldn't allow both. Jury selection is scheduled to get underway on Tuesday. Maurizio’s trial is expected to last about three weeks.








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