Advocates Angry over Description of Abuse in Girard Case
By Joyce Kryszak
Buffalo, NY – The characterization of new evidence uncovered in the 1993 murder of Crystalynn Girard has rape victims' advocates crying for justice.
Crystalynn was barely 13 years-old when she was left naked and strangled. Her mother, Lynn Dejac was jailed for the murder. But new DNA evidence points to Dejac's former boyfriend, Dennis Donahue. Initial results show that the DNA of a man, likely Donahue, was found inside Crystalynn's vagina.
But Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark said that, even if ultimately conclusive, the DNA might only prove "a previous sexual encounter between the two."
Robyn Wiktorski Reynolds is the Victims' Advocate Program Coordinator for Crisis Services. She said what happened to the little girl was not "an encounter."
"Anytime we are talking about an adult having any kind of sexual contact with a child, we need to remember it's a crime," said Wiktorski Reynolds. "It can be considered rape or sexual assault, depending upon what it is."
Defense Attorney Andrew LoTempio, who represents Dejac, first voiced concern over the DA's description. LoTempio said he worries that the DA might be trying to minimize the assault because of where the new evidence leads.
LoTempio said Donahue used similar methods of sexual assault and strangulation in two other murders to which he allegedly is connected.
Wiktorski Reynolds said the sexual assault of Girard does show the patterns of a typical violent abuser, who needs to have power and control. "What is the worst possible way you can get back at someone than to put a woman's child in danger?" said Wiktorski Reynolds. " Unfortunately, it's an all too common scenario we see in domestic violence circles."
Regardless of the final DNA results, which are expected back October 15, Donahue does have immunity in the murder because of his Grand Jury testimony against Dejac.
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