Accused molester takes witness stand in Porter County trial
BY JAMES D. WOLF JR. Post-Tribune correspondent December 18, 2013 6:30PM
Updated: December 18, 2013 11:08PM
VALPARAISO — Testimony in the trial of a Portage man charged with nine felonies for allegedly molesting four boys ended Wednesday with the defendant taking the stand.
Closing arguments should begin Thursday morning.
Christopher W. Truman, 39, denied touching the boys beyond wrestling with them, even when he took them to a local hotel to swim, watch wrestling on TV and eat pizza.
Truman faces up to 50 years on each of the three highest counts, Class A felony child molesting.
His testified about the evens of Aug. 4, 2012, when two friends wielding baseball bats came to a Valparaiso house he was at.
“I couldn’t believe it. These were people who were my best friends, and they were accusing me of doing something awful,” Truman said.
All four boys were children of or somehow related to a group of Portage adults who had known each other since high school; the group frequently watched wrestling together.
One boy, the son of a woman one of the friends lived with, told his mother that Truman had touched him inappropriately while visiting the house before and after they lived with Truman’s friend.
The mother questioned the boy because the two were usually in the boy’s room with the door closed.
Truman denied the door was always closed when he visited.
He also said he took the boys to a local hotel about seven to 10 times, usually with his friends, but he admitted to paying in cash.
The hotel had records of only one visit.
Porter County Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek suggested there’d been more hotel visits, as one boy testified Tuesday, but Truman denied it.
He also denied spending more time with the boys than with his friends and said one boy’s mother was always in the house when they played video games in his room and that his wife or friends were often around when the boys were.
Prosecutors contend the abuse started with a boy who had a rough family life with an abusive stepfather who wanted Truman and his wife to adopt him; after that, prosecutors say, Truman started with other boys after that first boy moved away.
That first alleged victim, now 23, testified Tuesday that he still loves Truman as a father but hung around with him because despite the sexual abuse, the situation was better than what his family did to him.