Editor’s note: Please post a note of encouragement to the victims in the Comments (see special request at the end of this piece). Testimony of the third child witness follows. The 11-year-old son of Timothy Ciboro is also the half-brother of Esten, step-brother of the oldest victim, and brother of the youngest victim.
All charges against the Ciboro men pertained to crimes they committed against the two girl witnesses. This may be why Timothy and Esten felt safe calling Timothy’s young son as the sole defense witness.
The opening frames of this video show Timothy seeking the full advantage of his chance to question his son in court. Audio of the child’s voice is muted, and was not transcribed in this TV segment. Timothy refers to himself in the third person:
Timothy: “Do you think your dad loves you?”
Boy: [answer muted]
Timothy: “With all his heart?”
Boy: [answer muted]
Timothy: “Do you think your dad misses you with all his heart?”
Timothy might have assumed that emotional leverage, “Biblical” teaching, and memories of the good times would cause his young son to give answers he wanted. Note the sequence, and also how things backfired:
Timothy quizzed the 11-year-old boy about what the Bible says about telling the truth and asking forgiveness. He asked him about races they’d run, games they’d played when they lived under the same roof.
Then he brought up the crimes for which he’s accused, asking if the boy remembered that the 14-year-old girl was handcuffed “most of the time” when they watched movies at home.
“Why did that happen to her? Do you remember?” Timothy asked.
“Because you guys felt like it,” the boy replied.
“Is it true that she would wear that ankle cuff a lot because she would steal?” Timothy asked.
“She would steal stuff because you never fed her,” the boy said. “So it practically wasn’t her fault.”
Despite Timothy’s efforts to corner him into giving certain answers, the 11-year-old spoke his mind:
Timothy asked him about discipline and whether he thought someone should be disciplined for being disobedient. [The boy] replied that it wasn’t the girl’s fault.
“So when a child lies and steals and he does things he shouldn’t do,” Timothy began.
“Because they’re being tortured,” the young boy interrupted.
At one point, Timothy asked the boy if he thought he loved him. The youngster did not reply for a while then said a firm, “No.”
“When you lived at 825 Noble, did you think [I] loved you then?” Timothy then asked.
Again a pause.
“I don’t want to answer these questions,” the young boy said.
After Timothy finished with the witness, Esten took his turn and asked his half-brother about child sex abuse:
“The girls stated they were touched inappropriately. Were you ever touched inappropriately,” asked Esten Ciboro.
“Yes,” said the little boy.
“By who,” asked Esten Ciboro.
“Tim,” said the little boy.
Molestation took place in the boy’s bed. According to a reporter, the boy specified:
“…he was sexually assaulted at a younger age, and it hasn’t happened for awhile…”
The assertions were stunning, and amateur lawyer Esten improvised a strategy to show that the boy didn’t know what he was talking about.
Esten pressed him for details and asked him to describe what he thought sex meant. Frank Spryszak, an assistant county prosecutor, objected, and both sides met with the judge privately before Esten said he was done asking questions.The young boy, who had a comfort dog at his side throughout the direct examination, was then allowed to leave.
What caused the boy to unburden himself in court? Timothy had admonished him to tell the truth; maybe he felt safe doing exactly that. Likewise, manipulative questioning might have led the boy to spill the beans.
Regardless of the boy’s reason for disclosing under oath that he was sexually abused, Timothy might face additional charges.
Let’s try to encourage these children! In future they might go online to learn about coverage of the case. They deserve to find messages of support.
Please write a note to the Ciboros’ three young victims (two girls and a boy) in the Comments below. We will compile notes into a special post. Feel free to express your pride, hopes for their future, and other kind thoughts. We would like to have notes from as many readers as possible. (NLQ will not reach out directly to the children, who appear to be well protected and in touch with loving relatives.)
Propinqua is the Latin word for neighboring or nearby (singular feminine adjective). It is used in law and philosophy, and in the scientific names of plants and animals, such as the native bee Osmia lignaria propinqua.
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