Abuse expert testifies in Paddock trial

June 5, 2008 3:45:33 PM PDT
Torture is a key term in the Paddock murder trial because Lynn Paddock is charged with first-degree murder.

However, prosecutors are not arguing that Sean Paddock's death was premeditated. He suffocated as he was wrapped in blankets.

Thursday a child abuse expert testified there was a history of child abuse, which amounted to torture.

Prosecutors are trying to prove a history of torture inside the Paddock home in a remote area of Johnston County. The Paddock children have already testified to suffering intense physical abuse over time.

After 4-year-old Sean's death, physical exams of the other children did not show obvious signs of trouble.

The child abuse expert said she found the children in very different conditions.

"When I saw the patients later for follow up, every single one of these patients had serious mental health problems, as well as serious physical health problems," Dr. Sharon Cooper said.

he Doctor said some of the children suffered from insomnia, anxiety, hyperactivity, post-traumatic stress and even suicidal thoughts.

Dr. Cooper explained how health care workers could have missed subtle signs of alleged abuse of children inside the Paddock home.

"If they've been abused for more than six months, they become what we call conditioned," Cooper said. "They are not forthcoming about things that have happened to them because they are still too intimidated and they are afraid."

Testimony is expected to continue Friday.


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