- Associated Press - Friday, January 5, 2018

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) - A McLean County judge says a teenager cannot be accompanied by a support dog when she testifies in an upcoming trial of a man charged with sexually abusing her.

On Thursday, Judge Scott Drazewski seemed to agree with an attorney for defendant, Robert Wichmann that allowing the dog in court could make it more difficult for Wichmann to get a fair trial. The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reported that the judge noted that the dog “could engender sympathy.”

Such dogs have been allowed to accompany alleged sexual assault victims in a growing number of trials across the country. Advocates say the dogs help witnesses relax and they say to make sure jurors aren’t swayed by the dogs’ presence, the animals are positioned in such a way that jurors don’t see them.


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