Testimony by 'brave little girl' leads to Westport rape conviction
Powerful and often graphic testimony about her own rape "by one very brave little girl" helped produce Tuesday's guilty verdict for a Westport man.
Westport Detective Jeff Majewski's said the Tuesday afternoon conviction of Joshua Miguel, 37, formerly of 100 Mouse Mill Road, Westport, was the result of strong evidence and especially compelling testimony by the young victim who took the stand during a trial that lasted for parts of two weeks.
The jury began deliberations Monday afternoon and worked another 4 1/2 hours Tuesday before delivering guilty verdicts on all charges — two counts of statutory rape of a child, one count of rape of a child with force, and dissemination of material harmful to a minor.
Judge Richard Moses then sentenced Mr. Miguel to 10-12 years in state prison, at least ten of which must be served, and ten years of probation. He must also submit DNA samples, register as a sex offender upon his release, and receive sexual abuse counseling.
Calling the case "absolutely one of the most disturbing" of his career, Det. Majewski said he is grateful for the guilty verdict. Although the judge could have provided more prison time by applying the prison sentence to each count, "I am just glad that this man will be away for a long time" during which "he won't be able to hurt anyone else."
Det. Majewski credited a team effort for the conviction — Westport Police, Children's Advocacy Center and District Attorney's office.
But above all it was "the incredible courage of this little girl" to tell from the witness stand the "very detailed and graphic details of what had happened to her" that convinced the jury, Det. Majewski said. A jury must weigh the credibility of any witness, he added, and her story never wavered. From the beginning, her account rang true "110 percent" and was supported by the evidence that police obtained.
Mr. Miguel has consistently denied the accusations and his defense argued that he was never alone with the girl during her visits to the home of a man whom police describe as a "trusted family friend."
Det. Majewski said that investigators learned that the abuse had taken place between January 2010 and summer of 2011 when the girl was between ages 4 and 6. On at lease one occasion, the girl said that Mr. Miguel's own child, then age 1, was present during an assault.
Westport Police arrested Mr. Miguel in August of 2011 after the girl revealed to a grandmother that Mr. Miguel been abusing her for years.
Det. Majewski said at the time that the girl had stayed with Mr. Miguel and his new wife for awhile. The detective said she asked the grandmother not to tell her secret because she was frightened of what might happen.
The girl participated in a forensic interview conducted at the Bristol County Children’s Advocacy Center in Fall River, which also conducted a pediatric sexual assault exam. During the interview, police said the child revealed many details to the interviewer.
Through the interviews, police said they knew where to find items like the pornographic DVDs and magazines they said they found hidden in a pull down attic area that Mr. Migue forced the girl to look at while he abused her.
Det. Majeweki said the child told the interviewer that she had been abused for about a year and a half by a family friend called “Josh.” She said the assaults occurred while the family occasionally stayed with him on weekends and continued during a month-long stay with them in the summer of 2011.
“Some of the most graphic details I’ve ever heard come out of these interviews came out of this little girl,” Det. Majewski said at the time. He has investigated these types of cases since 1997.