11-year-old rape victim testifies in trial

CLEVELAND, Texas - A girl who was raped by several men and boys testified in court against one of the suspects on Tuesday.

Jared Cruse, 20, has been charged with aggravated sexual assault. He has been accused of raping an 11-year-old girl.

Jurors heard opening statements in the case on Tuesday morning. The defense does not deny that Cruse had sex with the girl, but they claim the girl said she was 17 and was a willing participant.

Prosecutors said it does not matter if the girl was a willing participant. They said an 11-year-old is a child, and a child cannot consent to sex.

"How are you supposed to check someone's age? Chop off their leg and count the rings like a tree?" asked Steven Taylor, Cruse's attorney.

The girl testified that she willingly had sex with almost two dozen men and boys when she was in sixth grade. She is now 13 years old.

The first witness to testify, a federal agent who specializes in analyzing computers, said there is cellphone video of the event. According to prosecutors, Cruse has a starring role in the video.

The girl identified herself and Cruse in the video.

Closing arguments were expected to begin Wednesday.

Cruse is the second person to be tried in this case. Eric McGowen was convicted in his trial and sentenced to 99 years in prison.

Several other men charged in the case have reached plea bargains.

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