Two legal groups trying to free girl who won't testify against man accused of having sex with her

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The mother of a Norton girl who remains jailed for refusing to testify against her alleged molester says her daughter is exactly where she needs to be. And it appears the 14-year-old will stay in the adult Summit County Jail until at least May 31, when the man accused of having sex with her goes on trial. However, the girl's case has captured the attention of two legal groups that are trying to help her obtain a lawyer to win her freedom. A judge last week put the teen in custody after she ran away from home and did not show up to testify for prosecutors in their case against Galo Sanchez-Pesantes, 20, who is accused of unlawful sexual conduct with the girl. The girl is being held in isolation, away from adult inmates, after a juvenile court judge refused to place her in juvenile detention because she is not accused of a crime. [...]

"She's only 14 and I totally agree with what Judge Murphy is doing," the 31-year-old mother said. "At least I know she's eating and not on the street with rapists and drug dealers. I can sleep now knowing I won't have to find her chopped up in pieces at the bottom of Summit Lake." [...] If not for jail, the mother said, her daughter would run away again. "She just thinks she's grown up and can do whatever she wants to do," her mother said. "I love my daughter, and I want her to get help and stay in jail for her own protection."

Meanwhile, attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the Justice for Children Project contend the girl is being held illegally in an adult facility and should be afforded an attorney. They were to try to meet with the girl on Tuesday.

source: Article 'Mother says 14-year-old safer in jail - Two legal groups trying to free girl who won't testify against man accused of having sex with her' by Phil Trexler;; Beacon Journal; 17 May 2006