Boy says in court that family dog did rape him

It was a trial that made everyone cringe. An Akron mother was accused of seriously injuring her 7-year-old son by ramming an object into his rectum after he had soiled his pants. Her defense: She didn't hurt the boy -- he was raped by Scooby, the family's pet dog.

The jury didn't buy it, and the woman was sentenced to life in prison on April 5, 1994. But now the boy says that he remembers those terrible events from six years ago, and that the dog really did rape him. It's a revelation that could earn his mother a new trial. "My mom is innocent,'' the boy, now 14 years old, told Summit County Common Pleas Judge James Murphy yesterday. "She didn't do this. Scooby attacked me.''

It's the same story his mother told doctors at Children's Hospital Medical Center of Akron, where she took the boy in November 1993. The then-40-year-old woman said she'd been taking a bath when she heard her son whimpering outside the locked door. She opened the door to find him bleeding, his hands covered with feces. "The dog did it. Ask my mom,'' the 7-year-old told police who were summoned to the hospital. He would say no more. But doctors were skeptical that a 70-pound pit bull could penetrate the boy without leaving scratches, bite marks or similar wounds. The only injuries were those to the boy's rectum: internal tearing so severe that doctors said he nearly needed a colostomy. One doctor would later testify that he believed the boy was violated with something like a broomstick.

The lurid details of the case were made more sensational when tests at the state crime lab confirmed that fluid found in the boy's rectum was indeed dog semen. Prosecutors weren't swayed; they convinced jurors that it's a relatively simple task for those with the know-how to collect and transfer dog semen using a sandwich bag and a straw or turkey baster.

The boy was called to testify on his mother's behalf, but he could not. Scared and sitting on his older half brother's lap on the witness stand, the young boy couldn't be persuaded to answer questions about what happened that day. Without his testimony, the trial hinged on the testimony of a social worker. The woman told jurors that after she had talked with the boy over several days, he finally opened up and said his mother, angry with him for soiling his pants, had inserted something into his rectum. Jurors convicted the mother of felonious sexual penetration and endangering a child. She was sentenced to life in prison but becomes eligible for parole in 2004. Many of those involved in the case were happy to be done with it. A prosecutor compared it to the case of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who cannibalized his victims.

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