COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A divided Ohio Supreme Court has rejected a prosecutor's use of statements by a 3-year-old child about abuse he allegedly suffered at the hands of his mother's boyfriend.
At issue is the role teachers or other non-law enforcement officials play when they hear allegations of abuse and then report them as required by law.
The court's 4-3 ruling Wednesday written by Justice Terrence O'Donnell upheld a lower court ruling that ordered a new trial for Darius Clark of Cleveland, convicted in 2010 of several counts of felonious assault and child endangering.
The court said witnesses should not have been allowed to discuss statements made by the son of Clark's girlfriend to preschool teachers.
Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor disagreed, saying the decision harms Ohio's ability to protect vulnerable children.