DENVER (CBS4) – A 10-year-old girl who was kidnapped from a Denver neighborhood in 2011 told a courtroom on Tuesday that she was forced to undress and was sexually assaulted during the incident.
The girl spoke at length and with lots of emotion about what happened to her in 2011 during testimony in the trial for Bret Thompson. Opening statements and witness testimony began in Thompson’s trial Tuesday morning.
The girl said she was walking with a friend on South Raleigh Street when a man driving a white van drove up to them near an alley.
She said the man asked if they would help him throw a box into a dumpster. The girl agreed to help, and that’s when the man lifted her up so she could toss the box away. She said he then put her in the back of his van and “drove far.”
The girl testified she was scared when she was in the car and asked the man to “pinky promise he wouldn’t hurt her.” The man promised but eventually drove her to his home in Aurora where the girl said he made her undress then “pushed his man parts on my private parts.”
Toward the end of her testimony the girl sobbed as she was asked to identify the man who took her and pointed to Thompson.
The June 2, 2011, incident ended when the girl, who was 9 at the time, was found at a gas station on Federal Boulevard approximately 90 minutes after she was reported missing. After a nationwide manhunt, police found Thompson sleeping in his van in New Jersey and arrested him.
Last summer Thompson, 29, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the kidnapping and sexual assault charges he faces. The trial was delayed as lawyers argued over his mental status.
During opening statements Tuesday the defense described Thompson’s childhood to the jury as “broken and seriously disturbed.” His attorney said Thompson was sexually abused as a young boy and was in and out of foster care as well as mental hospitals.
The defense claims Thompson is not guilty by reason of insanity. They said he suffers from dissociative identity disorder, or multiple personality disorder, and doesn’t know right from wrong.
Prosecutors say Thompson knowingly assaulted and kidnapped the girl.
Thompson choked up in court as his attorney described his upbringing. It was the only emotion he displayed during the morning portion of the trial. He kept his head down during most of the testimony.
Thompson’s foster mother has pleaded guilty to perjury in the case. Prosecutors accused Sylvia Luckett of lying to police to help Thompson flee as police investigated him in connection with the assault.
After his not guilty plea last year Thompson was evaluated at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo.