On Monday, the trial began for a Knott County man who was accused and arrested for multiple charges relating to rape and sexual abuse of two family members under 12 years of age that allegedly occurred from 2013-2016.

Jerry Sizemore, of Sassafrass, has been charged with 89 counts, including incest (20 counts), first-degree rape of a victim under 12 years of age (14 counts), incest — forcible compulsion/incapable of consent or under 18 years of age (18 counts), first-degree sexual abuse of a victim under 12 years of age (9 counts), first-degree sodomy of a victim under 12 years of age (12 counts) and first-degree rape (16 counts).

Opening statements were made on Tuesday, Aug. 27. During this time, Cordell Williams, representing the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, said that, due to the the very young ages of the victims during the time of the alleged crimes, combined with the passing of time and the traumatic nature of the events, the victims should not be held to remembering specific dates and times of the incidents.

“This is a serious case, these are serious allegations,” said Williams. “At the end of this, I don’t think we’ll have a hard, specific number of times this happened,” he said.

However, he said, the victims will be able to provide multiple locations and recount some details of the crimes.

“I’m going to be straight up with you, (the victims) have problems,” said Williams, stating that both children have been majorly impacted by the trauma. “This went on for an extended period of time. These girls never told anyone, never confided in anyone.”

In addition to that, Williams said the strained relationship between Sizemore and his ex-wife, Jessica Amburgey, definitely could have played a role in the way the victims behave now.

“There is a tumultuous relationship between Mr. Sizemore and Jessica Amburgey,” said Williams. The two were only married briefly, he said, and during that relationship social services were called multiple times. “Make no mistake, there is some animosity between Mr. Sizemore and Jessica Amburgey.”

Attorney David Johnson, representing Sizemore, argued that the bitter relationship between Amburgey and Sizemore could very easily be a cause of the accusations, and she could have told the victims to say it.

“Children, now they’re only a product of their raising,” said Johnson, explaining that there was a lot of jealousy over Sizemore’s new wife, children and life. Johnson said that the defense has multiple reports obtained from social service records where the victims complain about missing Sizemore, how he never spent time with them. Many of those reports, Johnson said, have dates that are within the time frame of the alleged rapes.

Records also show that the victims complained about Sizemore being physically and verbally abusive to his current wife and kids, said Johnson, but when they went and questioned everyone, they all said nothing wrong and nothing was done to harm anyone. Additionally, Johnson said, none of Sizemore’s family, including the victims, claimed to ever be sexually abused by anyone, and this was just months before the allegations came out.

Johnson said that he understands the prosecution’s point of not having specific information, but it is also a very serious matter that needs hard evidence.

“These are little girls, don’t hold them to dates and times, don’t hold them to memories, they’re messed up,” Johnson said. “But the man over here is facing a life sentence, there has to be some due process. We’ve got a man’s life at stake.”

“The number one thing I ask myself as I look through this case because these are his biological [family members], is how did we get here? What led up to these allegations? The only explanation that I can say is by looking through the history of the social service records,” said Johnson. Amburgey and the victims were all seeing counselors during the times of the accusations, Johnson said.

Those counselors, he said, were trained to get that type of information but didn’t report any evidence of sexual abuse.

All of the inconsistencies and the victims’ stories changing with each interview, combined with the lack of physical evidence tying Sizemore to it, Johnson said, should be considered.

The commonwealth and defense also argued about the methods used by the first witness, Det. Vicky Day, with the Kentucky State Police, to obtain information from Sizemore in 2016.

When the allegations surfaced, Johnson said, Day tricked Sizemore into coming in for an interview by claiming that the victims retracted their statements and said they made it up, so they just needed him to sign some papers and clear it up. Once at KSP Post 13, the defense team said, Sizemore was read his rights and interviewed. During the course of the interview, Day, the defense said, went into the interview believing Sizemore’s guilt. Johnson said Day was manipulative and led Sizemore on to believe that he’d get a reduced sentence and get reunited with his family if he confessed and kept she painting an illusion of different paths.

“Our focus really is to fix the problems going on and in the end I want the families back together,” said Day during the interview. Throughout the interview, Day repeatedly told Sizemore he could admit he had a problem, agree to counseling and possibly get a reduced sentence to be reunited with his family, or he could deny he did it and have to face a jury trial.

“I didn’t really ask you to come down here to see if this really happened, I actually already know that it has. The questions I have are how to fix it,” said Day in the interview. “I talk to kids every single day, I know when someone is telling me the truth or not, I’ve been doing this for 17 years. I talked to these girls and they’re not lying to me. They’re saying that you done this, not somebody else.

“I never go into an investigation thinking somebody is guilty, never. I follow the evidence, where it takes me is where I go,” Day said in the recording. “The evidence took me to this happened, you had this contact with (the victims). People do get accused sometimes and they’re not guilty but I have too much information in this case, too much evidence, that’s not where I am right now.”

During her testimony, Day said officers have a lot of physical evidence including medical exams, interviews and video surveillance of Sizemore’s vehicle entering one of the locations where an incident allegedly happened.

In the interview played for the court, Sizemore repeatedly denied the charges but did say he would agree to follow Day’s recommendations to go to classes and get treatment if it meant a reduced sentence.

“The classes are for your benefit not mine,” said Sizemore.

Sizemore said he didn’t have sexual contact with the victims, but will not argue that there is evidence of the children having done something, he just doesn’t know what caused it, he said. Additionally, Sizemore, in the recording, said that he works approximately 70 hours a week and the victims were only at his house on weekends, so he barely saw them and when he did, other people were usually around.

Sizemore said he has never felt sexual or violent urges, and has had nothing traumatic to occur in his childhood, although he did claim he felt like he had sociopathic tendencies as a teenager.

“I’m pretty sure I’m a sociopath,” said Sizemore in the interview, explaining that he took an online quiz and it said he was a high-functioning sociopath. In the recorded interview, Sizemore told Day he feels like it has helped him in a business sense, but never caused any problems, and claimed he “isn’t the type to bury bodies in the backyard.”

The prosecution and defense said they plan to call more witnesses, including the two victims, Sizemore’s ex-wife and more, during the course of the trial.

The trial was still ongoing as of presstime Wednesday.

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