Hanna’s Bad Thing

Parts of this post were used in Aggravated.

During Trial #2, Hanna tried to slip some extra information into one of her answers, but it didn’t work. Here’s how that happened.

Elmer Ross had just finished questioning her about some incidents that she claimed happened after Beau’s 21st birthday party. She described several things, two of which comprised the elements of the second and third counts in the indictment against Steve. Just to make sure he had covered everything in the indictment (possibly because Hanna’s story had shifted considerably from what she had said in Trial #1), Ross asked her if all those things had happened on February 14th, 2004. She said, “Yes,” but she didn’t stop there. She plunged ahead, saying. “There was another occasion several months before this that I recall where he had done something totally different. This was the one time he did it, and it was bad.” She was trying to slide one more accusation into her testimony, but Ross didn’t give her free rein that time. He moved on to the next topic without acknowledging her comment. She had already floated this story to Ada Dixon in August 2004, and repeated it to Tom a couple of years later. It was about anal sex. Let’s start with what she told Dixon, punctuated as it was in the summary, with a brief (parenthetical) comment from Dixon.

“Once he tried to put his penis in my rectum and the first thing I thought was that I promised my close friend Josh that I’d never let Sirios [sic] do that to me. I told him I couldn’t do this because I didn’t want to break a promise I had made” He tried to have anal sex with me but I refused so he put his finger in my rectum.” (This is rape!) “Josh knew since the beginning of my eighth grade year, but he couldn’t get me to tell my mom. The abuse had been going on one year when I told him.”

And here’s an excerpt from the conversation Hanna had with Tom in May 2006. The bold words indicate Hanna’s verbal emphasis. Tom asked her, “What other things did he have you do?” She said, “Mmmmh. One time he asked me …this was the first time he ever asked me to do anything. He asked if I would have anal sex with him. I said, ‘No. That is disgusting.’ [2-second pause] And this was when I was on the floor, in his bedroom, beside his …the left side of the bed.” Tom asked her why she was in there. She said, “Because he asked …no, I went to the bathroom, and it’s the only bathroom …working bathroom in the house. And I came out. He woke up and he pulled me over there, and because his wife was in the bed beside him, we got on the floor, and he put his finger in my …butt, and when he tried to put his penis there, and I said, ‘No,’ and I would not let him, because that is gross.” Tom said he could understand that, and she continued. “And that was also the night I told him I couldn’t do this anymore because I had made a promise.” She added that, when Steve asked her who she made the promise to, she wouldn’t tell him, but told Tom it was “because I had made a promise to Josh, I would not let it continue. And I did. I broke a promise, and I really cried about it.”

When you look at all of her statements together, I believe it’s clear that she was making these incidents up on the fly, with no regard for what she had said before. On April 7, 2004, after Blake Goudy’s speech, Hanna talked to Goudy and told him she had been abused, but apparently made no mention of anal sex. The next day she spoke to Deputy Knox of the Ashwell County Sheriff’s Department, and described incidents which she said had taken place “several times over the past 3 years.” She again said nothing about anal sex. When Knox interviewed Goudy later, he discovered that Hanna had simply told Goudy that “she had been touched by a man for several years,” and that “She did not go into any details with Goudy.” Still no mention of anal sex. Four months later, on August 18, 2004, Hanna told Nina Dixon that Steve had “tried to put his penis in my rectum,” and that her very first thought “was that I promised my close friend Josh that I’d never let Sirios [sic] do that to me,” saying that she couldn’t do it because she didn’t want to break her promise to Josh. When Hanna spoke to Tom in May 2006, though, her “promise” to Josh had altered. It wasn’t the promise to not have anal sex that she had told Dixon about. It had become a promise to stop having encounters with this man, not to never commit that particular act.

Here’s the odd thing, though. Josh has said, fairly consistently, that the extent of the sex that Hanna told him about was oral sex and masturbation. According to all the records I’ve seen, Josh never said anything about anal sex (not to law enforcement, not to Tom, and not under oath in court). If, as Hanna told Dixon, she made a promise to Josh that she would never have anal sex with her abuser, why didn’t he mention that to anyone? And, in her conversations with Josh, which of them brought up the topic of anal sex in a way that made him feel like he had to make her promise that she wouldn’t do that? That’s so oddly specific. This seems to be just one more incident that Hanna added to the pile of accusations that appeared during her sessions with Dixon. Did she try to squeeze that information into the trial because both Dixon and Tom had seemed to accept it, so she thought she could sell it to the jury? Who knows?

Michael Sirois

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