An Omaha man accused of raping his 13-year-old foster daughter is representing himself at trial.
Tuesday, we found out why: With a straight face, Brandon Weathers told a jury that he impregnated his foster daughter — with a syringe.
Because, he said, she dreamed of becoming pregnant.
However, Weathers said, he never had sex with her. At worst, he said, he is guilty of “child abuse or something.”
“We’re not here for first-degree sexual assault of a child,” he said. “We’re here for child abuse.”
Prosecutor Brenda Beadle called that “cockamamie.”
Beadle, chief deputy Douglas County attorney, traced what she called a classic case of a sex predator grooming his child victim. Showering her with attention. Giving her cellphones.
Texting her. Tickling her. Touching her. Raping her.
Under state law, anyone 19 or over is guilty of sexual assault of a child if he has sex with someone 15 or under.
What won’t be a subject of the trial this week: How Weathers became a foster parent in 2013, despite two separate prison stints for his three felony convictions. Weathers had been convicted of two counts of burglary and one count of theft — and finished his last prison term in August 2001.
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services officials have said state regulations allow felons to be foster parents if more than five years pass from a conviction in certain crimes, such as burglary and theft. Convictions for other crimes, such as child abuse and sexual assault, automatically disqualify a person.
Weathers and his wife became foster parents in September 2013.
Any foster children were removed from Weathers’ home after the allegations came to light, an HHS official said.
The removal didn’t stop Weathers from abusing the 13-year-old, prosecutors say.
According to Beadle and Tuesday’s testimony:
"Allie" — not her real name — had a rough childhood. She and her siblings were removed from their birth mother when Allie was just 4 years old.
Allie’s first foster mom adopted her and her sister. But in time, that mother became physically abusive. All children, including Allie, were removed from that house, too.
Allie bounced from foster home to foster home. Among her foster parents: Brandon and LaQuela Weathers.
She arrived at their home near 18th and Emmet Streets in the middle of the night in April 2014, LaQuela Weathers testified.
Allie took the stand Tuesday. It was her 15th birthday.
She told Beadle, the prosecutor, she would rather be anywhere but in court.
She then slowly, painfully, reluctantly answered Beadle’s questions — describing abuse that she said occurred in the two months she lived at Weathers’ house, and for the four months he continued to contact her afterward.
The 13-year-old had never had sex when she arrived at Weathers’ house.
Weathers, then 38, subjected the girl to oral and vaginal sex. She told police it happened more times than she could count. He supplied her with a cellphone so he could track her and text her.
Then, two months into the abuse, she made a comment at a summer camp. Allie told her little sister that she wasn’t a virgin anymore. She told a brother that she had sex with “Mr. Brandon.”
A camp counselor contacted Child Protective Services.
Interviewed by police, she repeatedly denied having sex with anyone other than a boy her age.
Why the lies?
“Because I loved him,” she testified quietly.
Weathers was her first de facto father, foster or otherwise. She had never met her birth father.
After the June interview, HHS officials removed her and her sister from Weathers’ home.
LaQuela and Brandon Weathers never lived together again. LaQuela Weathers eventually filed for divorce.
Removed from Weathers’ home, Allie and her sister again bounced from foster home to foster home.
Weathers often tracked her down — and the two had sex in his car, back at his house and at his workplace, Allie testified.
At the workplace, Allie testified, Weathers pulled out a plastic syringe and told her of his plan — that he was going to insert the syringe to “protect himself” from any trouble he might get in. After he did, the two had sex, Allie said.
Weathers did something else to try to protect himself. He tried to make Allie take a morning-after pill. She refused.
Her refusal turned out to be critical.
Allie discovered that she was pregnant in November 2014. She soon suffered a miscarriage. Investigators who already were on her case collected the tissue from the fetal sample. Tests showed that the tissue contained two people’s DNA — Allie’s and Weathers’, Beadle said.
In several uncomfortable exchanges, Weathers questioned both Allie and LaQuela, his former wife. Many of his questions centered on his idea that Allie had a crush on him.
“I helped her indulge a fantasy — it was very stupid on my part,” Weathers told jurors. “We never had sex. Did we use a syringe? We did. She even told me what her menstrual cycle was. She told me, and we timed it perfectly.
“(But) it doesn’t fit the narrative of the county attorney and the police.”
Beadle said the horror story is one of a middle-aged man who used the state’s foster-care system for money and an “opportunity” to prey on a vulnerable 13-year-old. If convicted, Weathers faces 15 years to life in prison on each of two counts of sexual assault of a child. Prosecutors grouped the charges by time period: the two months she lived with Weathers and the four months after she was removed from his house.
“He wants a trial,” Beadle told jurors. “But this is serious. It’s serious for the State of Nebraska, and it’s serious for (Allie).
“Thirteen. Thirty-eight. Pregnant. That’s the end of the story.”
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