A terrified 13-year-old girl secretly recorded video of her father coaching her to lie about having been physically assaulted by him — and managed to slip the evidence to prosecutors on the eve of his trial in Pennsylvania, authorities said Tuesday.
The videos show Deyon Taylor, 56, instructing his daughter to deny that he choked her in June and to tell the judge he was merely being stern with her, according to a police affidavit.
At the courthouse, the girl asked to speak to a prosecutor in private and showed the videos to her.
“I know she was very scared to come forward, but I think it was a cry for help, so to speak. She knew she was in trouble and wasn’t safe and that she needed help,” Detective Kim Lippincott of the Monroe County district attorney’s office said Tuesday.
Jury selection in Taylor’s original assault case began Tuesday. He now faces additional charges of witness intimidation and hindering prosecution, and a judge revoked his bail.
A phone message seeking comment was left for Taylor’s public defender, who was in court.
The case began in June, when Taylor was charged with assaulting his daughter in East Stroudsburg and the girl’s mother obtained a protection-from-abuse order against him. After the protection order expired, all three went to North Carolina to stay with family. The family returned to Pennsylvania on Thursday so Taylor could appear in court for a final status conference before his trial.
In their hotel room Thursday night, Taylor put his hands around his daughter’s neck, and then pushed her away from him in a re-enactment of the June assault, according to a police affidavit.
“Taylor then instructs (the girl) to tell the judge that she was not hurt … and that she only told the police he hurt her because she was mad that he told her she could not talk to her friends or have her laptop,” the affidavit said.
Unbeknownst to Taylor, his daughter recorded the incident with her cellphone, authorities said.
The girl made another video as they rode to the courthouse Friday. This time, Taylor went over the questions that his daughter would be asked in court and how he wanted her to respond, the affidavit said.
“Did he choke me? No! Did he hurt me? No! Was he being stern with me? Yes!” Taylor said on the video, according to court documents. Authorities said the girl’s mother also took part in the coaching but wasn’t charged because she, too, suffered abuse by Taylor.
When Taylor got to court, he told his lawyer that the child had lied and no longer wanted to move forward with the case, according to a news release from the district attorney’s office. After that, the prosecutor met with the mother and the teen, who asked for the private meeting.
Both the girl and her mother told authorities they were fearful of Taylor, and the mother said that Taylor often took her cash, debit card and identification as a control tactic so she wouldn’t leave. The girl said Taylor broke her mother’s nose several years ago.
The affidavit said the teen told authorities “she did not want to lie to the police or the judge,” adding that she knows her father would be mad “and she is afraid that he will hurt her or her mother.”
The district attorney’s office said the teen and her mother are now in a “confidential and secured placement.”
“Fortunately, the girl had the courage to come forward and tell us what was actually going on,” Lippincott said.