By Patti Weaver
(Stillwater, Okla.) — A Payne County jury composed of eight men and four women deliberated for two and one-half hours before convicting a Perkins man of repeatedly sexually abusing a female relative between the ages of 12 and 15.
Jurors deliberated for 20 more minutes before recommending a 30-year prison term for Montia Tylor Robbins, 33, who had a prior conviction for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in Pottawatomie County in 2013. At the trial last week, the jury heard testimony that at age 16 Robbins pleaded guilty to child molesting in Lincoln County in 2006.
Robbins, who has been in custody for a year on the Payne County child sexual abuse charge that carried a possible life prison term, was ordered held without bail pending his Nov. 3 sentencing by District Judge Phillip Corley.
During emotional testimony, the now 17-year-old girl had a therapy dog beside her. She said it happened to her in Perkins and in Cushing. She said she didn’t know how often she was raped while her mother was at work. He asked me not to tell, she told the jury.
“I told my used-to-be best friend,” but didn’t tell her mother until after it stopped, she testified. She said she was in the sixth grade the first time it happened.
Her mother told the jury she worked as a bartender, usually in the daytime. She said she was shocked by her daughter’s disclosure: “At first, I did not (believe,) but now I’m questioning.” She said that her daughter told her father two days later.
Perkins Police Chief Bob Ernst testified that he was contacted “by an investigator with Cushing PD who told me about possible child sex abuse in Perkins.” He said that he observed a forensic interview of the girl at the Saville Child Advocacy Center in Stillwater.
At the three-day trial last week, the defendant did not testify, but a friend told the jury that he never saw anything inappropriate with the girl. He said that he was completely shocked by the accusations. He described the defendant’s reputation as “pretty good.”
During closing arguments, prosecutor Erica Garuccio reminded the jury, “she testified it occurred in Perkins and Cushing — there were many incidents over a period of time.” She added, “you heard (testimony) that Mr. Robbins pled guilty to this type of crime,” previously.
Defense attorney Jodie Gage told the jury that the girl was not a credible witness. “She thinks Tylor (Robbins) is lazy. She didn’t like Tylor. She’s mad.”
In the final closing argument, prosecutor Debra Vincent told jurors, “It would help you if someone walked in on this and videoed it.
“Why should you choose to believe her? She gave you quite a few details. She said the first time is when she was suspended (from school). She was in the sixth grade. She tells you what room she was in. How much more descriptive is she supposed to be? She said these things happened to her when she was 12.”
Admitting that the girl didn’t first tell an adult, the prosecutor told jurors, “She had a friend she felt comfortable talking to her. Her mother didn’t believe her. You have the power to believe her.”