Casmer Volk – case update

According to the appeal ruling overturning Casmer Volk’s conviction, on April 28, 2011, Thomas and Sarah Hart left their four-year-old son Larry (names changed) in the care of their friend and daycare provider Diedre Cleary, while they vacationed in Oregon. Diedre lived with her boyfriend, now husband, Casmer Volk.

On April 30, Diedre took Larry to hospital, where a physician prescribed an antibiotic for a recurring ear infection. Larry soon suffered diarrhea, a common side-effect from the antibiotic.  On May 1, Casmer Volk, by himself, cared for Larry for two hours.

Larry’s parents returned later on May 1, and Diedre and Casmer returned Larry to his home. The next morning, May 2, Larry complained of soreness, and according to his mother when questioned stated “Cas hurt me” and Casmer “put his pee-pee in my bum”.

However when examined at hospital, there was no sign of rectal bleeding. Moreover, when questioned the child equivocated on whether he was telling the truth or not. On hearing the equivocation, his mother indicated that Larry had been offered a reward for repeating the accusation, and repeated the offer of a reward.

Larry’s underwear was submitted for forensic testing ( even though it is unknown if it was the underwear he was wearing on the date of the alleged rape ). It tested positive for p30, a presumptive test for sperm, however no sperm was found.

Note that a presumptive test is a test that does not prove the substance tested for exists in the sample, it merely indicates that the substance MAY exist. A confirmatory test is needed to confirm the result.

The prosecution argued that only Casmer could be responsible for the p30 result, as he had not fathered any children, so (the prosecution speculated) his sperm count might be low.  In fact the p30 could come from other sources, and according to forensic expert Greg Hampikian it is unlikely it came from semen.

At the first trial, there was a hung jury. At a second trial, Casmer was convicted and sentenced to 28 years to life. However, the defense failed to submit scientific evidence that Casmer has normal levels of sperm, and also failed to explain to the jury that the detected p30 may not have come from sperm.

Thus Casmer was convicted even though the prosecution’s forensic case was entirely false, and even contradicted by the hospital examination, which detected no rectal bleeding or trauma.

In February 2018, the conviction was overturned, on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel, and according to the Facebook support page “Casmer Volk is Innocent” at a hearing on November 12, attended by 12 supporters, a retrial date was set for December 4, 2018.

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