Nurses testify about injuries in child sex abuse trial

Richard Hopkins

ST. JOSEPH — An alleged child sex abuse victim told a nurse last February that she had played strip poker with Richard Hopkins, that his house was scary with creepy rooms and that he was stalking her family and liked her “in a bad way.”

But, the nurse testified, the girl said Richard Hopkins had never touched her. 

The testimony came during the fourth day of trial for Hopkins, 66, of Stevensville. He is charged with several counts of criminal sexual conduct, accused of molesting two young girls in 2016. The girls were 9 and 10 at the time, and Hopkins was babysitting for them after school at his house while their mother worked.

Bonnie Christopher is a registered nurse who works for Lakeland Health as a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE). She examined the younger of the two alleged victims. In Berrien County Trial Court Friday, Christopher told the jury that the girl told her Hopkins had touched her older sister, but not her. 

“She said he’d told her not to tell anybody, or he wouldn’t buy her any more things,” Christopher told the court.

She said a physical examination of the girl showed possible scarring in the vaginal area. She said the scarring could have been from an assault in 2014. The court has learned that both girls were sexually molested by a stepfather that year. That person is in prison.

A different SANE nurse, Leslyn Seawright, testified about her examination of the older girl, now 11, last February. She said when she asked the girl if she knew why she was there the girl told her, “Because of what Richard did to me.” She said the girl told her that “he put his ding-a-ling on me and put his mouth on me, and we watched a lot of bad movies.”

Seawright testified that the girl told her she did not want to tell her mother about Richard because she “did not want to go through the whole thing again like in 2014.” She said her physical examination of the girl showed evidence consistent with some sort of blunt force trauma in the vaginal area, but the same area had been injured in 2014. She said she saw evidence of an anal injury that had not been noted in 2014.

Michelle Schmitt, an expert in DNA analysis from the Michigan State Police lab in Grand Rapids, testified about DNA evidence found on seven of eight sex toys that were submitted to the lab by Baroda-Lake Township police. She DNA found on six of the seven items matched that of Richard Hopkins, and DNA found on one of the items matched that of the younger of the two alleged victims. Hopkins’ DNA was also found on that item.

Contact: jswidwa@TheHP.com, 932-0359, Twitter: @HPSwidwa