LOCKPORT – As the search continued for runaway sex-crime defendant Paul S. Turley, one of his alleged victims offered graphic testimony Thursday about Turley repeatedly molesting her when she was between the ages of 5 and 7, and again when she was 12.
Turley, 47, whose last known address was on Lincoln Avenue in Dunkirk, was living in North Tonawanda when he allegedly molested two girls between 1996 and 1998.
Wednesday, Turley, who could face up to 39 years in prison if convicted on all charges, left the Niagara County Courthouse during the lunch break in the trial and did not reappear.
Thursday morning, Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth R. Donatello told County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas that Turley’s wife, Diane G. Turley, also could not be located. A call to her place of employment resulted in word that she was absent.
Donatello told Farkas that jails and hospitals in the region have been checked, with no sign of Turley.
Defense attorney D. Daniel Stevanovic told the judge that he tried to reach his client by phone Wednesday night and Thursday morning without success. He also tried to contact the defendant through Turley’s mother, who posted a $50,000 bail bond for her son after his arrest Jan. 4, 2012.
Donatello requested that Farkas order the bail forfeited, but the judge demurred. She told Stevanovic that she would give Turley’s mother 24 hours to get her son to court. “If she can produce him, she won’t lose her money,” Farkas said.
Meanwhile, the trial continued after Farkas and the attorneys spent an hour in the judge’s chambers, questioning the jurors individually about whether they had read or heard any media reports about Turley’s flight. The answer apparently was no, as the trial continued with no jurors missing. However, Farkas imposed a gag order on the attorneys.
On the witness stand, one of the alleged victims, now 21, talked about how Turley would get her alone and fondle her during visits to his home between 1996 and 1998. When Assistant District Attorney Cheryl L. Nichols asked her to describe her relationship with Turley, the woman replied, “I tried my best not to have one. … I wasn’t comfortable around him.”
She said the Turley family moved to Wisconsin in 1998, which ended the abuse, but the Turleys returned to North Tonawanda in 2002 and resumed a relationship with the victim’s family. That eventually led to a further fondling incident on Christmas Day 2003, the woman testified. She said she never reported the incidents until the other alleged victim decided to tell police in November 2011. “It was the right thing, and I wanted to support [her],” the woman testified.
The woman said she has nightmares about being chased through woods by a man who always turns out to be Turley.
“I get very emotional if someone sits next to me,” the woman said. “I get very uncomfortable if I’m alone with an older man I don’t know.”
The other victim’s stepsister testified Thursday that this victim confided in her about the abuse in July 2007 but that the stepsister didn’t report it.
“It was no longer occurring. I didn’t think it was my secret to tell,” the stepsister told the jury. She said she didn’t learn about the other case until November 2011.