A father and son accused of child abuse are relying on their Bibles rather than on lawyers at a trial that began in Ohio yesterday.
According to this report, Esten Ciboro, 28, and his father Timothy Ciboro, 53, above, are charged with multiple counts of kidnapping, rape, and endangering children for allegedly shackling a 13-year-old girl by the ankle in their basement and sexually assaulting her and a younger child in their North Toledo home.
At a pretrial hearing on Friday, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Linda Jennings agreed to allow the Ciboros to bring their Bibles with them as they act as their own attorneys in the case. But she cautioned them that they wouldn’t be able to use it to question witnesses.
It’s the court’s opinion that while the Bible is very important, it is not a law book in a court of law.
Esten Ciboro made the request, saying he believed the Bible was:
Vital to our defence. There’s a great deal of strategy in Scripture and I use those strategies in everything I do. It’s a vital part of everything I do.
Timothy said it would be like tying their hands behind their back if they:
Can’t use God’s holy word to ask questions, questions that we believe are absolutely vital to our case.
The pair have been in jail since May when a 13-year-old girl escaped from their home and reported that she had been shackled in the basement on and off for several years. They were subsequently indicted on charges they sexually abused her. Timothy also faces rape charges involving another child.
When the trial began yesterday, Jennifer Reed, an assistant county prosecutor, painted a dark picture of the Ciboros’ home where three young children had been left in Timothy’s care. She said the evil was uncovered last May 18 when Karen Loudermill saw a 13-year-old girl who had run away, talked with her, and contacted police.
[The girl] described a crime scene at 825 Noble Street, a scene that included her instruments of captivity … In the house [police] found those handcuffs, those chains exactly where [the victim] said they would be — down in a basement with spider webs, a bucket of ammonia, and a bucket for the child to sit on.
The girl’s ankles were scarred around the ankles because of the ongoing shackling she endured, Ms Reed said.
Her prison was both physical and mental.
In his opening statement, Timothy Ciboro reminded the jury that anyone charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
When things are presented to the jury here, the truth needs to come out. The truth needs to come out, and we need you to know the facts. Are they the facts of what they’re saying happened or are they the truth? We want the truth to come out.
He and his son both made references to Bible stories they felt paralleled their own situation – stories in which things were not as they appeared. For example:
A long time ago, a man was brought before a judge, and the judge asked what he had done and the people that brought him said to the judge, if he wasn’t guilty we wouldn’t have brought him before you. The judge investigated the matter and he found no fault with him.
The trial is expected to last all week.