Hutchins child abuse trial gets under way
By 01/24/2002 00:00:00
HUTCHINS - The trial of Barbara Atkinson, 30, began Tuesday, Jan. 22 in state district court in Dallas. A seven-man, five-woman jury was seated Tuesday, Jan. 15.
Barbara Atkinson and Kenneth Atkinson, 34, were arrested last June after Barbara Atkinson's eight-year-old daughter was discovered living inside a closet of their mobile home in Hutchins for months and maybe years.
Authorities said the girl suffered from malnutrition and she had been sexually abused.
A doctor at Children's Medical Center in Dallas said physicians utilized information about effects from famine and war in 'Third-World' countries in treatment of the girl. The girl was not attending school and the Atkinsons using the girl's name attempted to obtain food stamps.
Alice Mahoney, the girl's therapist, said the experience could hurt her recovery if she testified as a witness during the trial.
Mahoney said seeing people who traumatized her could cause her to enter into regression or a catatonic state.The girl is currently living with a couple in Van Zandt County.
Prosecution said they had not determined yet as press time whether she would be called as a witness.