A Patterson witness who came forward in the sexual assault case of the People v. Frank Drummond left the stand in tears last Thursday, and again on Tuesday, at Stanislaus Superior Court while being cross-examined by defense attorney Frank Carson with questions that Judge Marie Silveira stated were "inflammatory."
Silveira called for a quick recess followed by a full recess Tuesday after only a few minutes of cross-examination by the defense, before the witness, referred to in court documents as Jane Doe 3, would later return and state that she no longer wished to testify on the matter.
The witness went on to say that the line of questioning in the courtroom was "appalling" and that she chooses her family, her husband, her children and her faith over this.
"I forgive Mr. Drummond," the witness said. "I know and have faith in the Lord that he will take care of what is done."
Francisco "Frank" Drummond, a former Patterson police officer and Modesto Junior College criminal justice instructor, is being accused of lewd acts with four minors—two friends of his daughter and two police explorers.
The witness referred to as Jane Doe 3, was a 17-year-old police explorer with Patterson Police Services in 1990 when she claims that oral copulation was forced upon her by Drummond.
The witness described how she had a desire to become a police officer and joined the explorer program, going on ride-alongs with different officers, including Drummond. During these ride-alongs the two would talk about anything, from current cases, to family problems at home, according to the witness.
Deputy District Attorney Beth O’Hara De Jong asked the witness to recall what happened the night she was sexually assaulted.
She recalled how Drummond was on duty in Patterson at the time when he started talking about his girlfriend and jealousy issues.
"He started driving in between two buildings," the witness said. "It was really dark. He parked between two buildings. He reached out his right hand and touched my breast."
"I was confused, not knowing what was happening," the witness recalled. "Next thing I know, his hand was on the back of my neck. I said, ‘What are you doing?’ and he pulled me down. The witness conveyed that the act was not consentual
"I sat back up," Jane Doe 3 continued. "He said, ‘You know I could get in trouble for this,’ and I didn’t say anything. I was confused. All that could come to mind is if I said something, my dad would get in trouble, because I knew my dad would kill him," the witness said tearfully.
"All he kept saying was, ‘You can’t say anything,’ " the witness added.
The witness said she returned to the explorer program for a few more ride-alongs because she wanted to keep the status quo so he wouldn’t get in trouble.
Carson proceeded with his cross-examination of the witness.
"After this incident, were you mad at Mr. Drummond?" Carson asked the witness.
The witness replied that no, she was not mad. "I knew that this wasn’t going to define me, and that’s what I kept telling myself," she said.
Carson seemed to hit a personal note and continued to make the witness uncomfortable when he brought forth a photocopy of the high school yearbook from the year the witness graduated and read aloud a section of it written by the witness, which read, "In special thanks to Mr. Drummond."
The witness had been in tears for most of her testimony but had a complete breakdown when Carson asked if she was a virgin at the time.
Being sympathetic to the witness, who was visibly distraught, the judge called a full recess for the rest of the day and asked to reconvene on Tuesday, March 3, so the defense could continue with the cross-examination.
After Tuesday’s short cross-examination, Carson explained that he had expected to cross-examine the witness all day and that if the witness did not follow through, then he would expect the jury to disregard every bit of testimony regarding that particular charge.
"The only other option is to find her in contempt of court," Carson said. "The witness doesn’t control this trial."
Silveira spoke to Carson outside of the presence of the jury.
"To go through that cross-examination would be quite difficult for anyone," she said. "I don’t believe (Jane Doe 3) will change her view. If we can’t make any progress in this I’m about to send everyone home."
Silveira ordered Jane Doe 3 to return Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. to see if she would change her mind on testifying.
When the witness returned Wednesday, her mind had not changed on the matter and she was dismissed as a witness. As a result, the judge ordered her to take 10 hours of counseling as result of her dismissal, and every reference to her will be stricken from the court documents. The jury members will have to agree on an impartiality agreement due to the strong claims of Jane Doe 3 when on the witness stand, if they can’t agree on impartiality then they must present a letter to the court stating their inability of impartiality.
Court continued Wednesday morning with another witness in the case.
Elias Funez can be reached at 209-892-6187 ext. 31 or firstname.lastname@example.org.