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Rape trial goes to second day

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Michael Runnion, 31, of Martins Ferry is on trial for two counts of first-degree felony rape and one count of gross sexual imposition, a felony of the third degree, occurring December 2018.

Runnion was staying at a residence in Martins Ferry when the incidents with the three girls, all younger than 13 at the time, allegedly occurred.

The trial began Tuesday and the Belmont County Prosecutor’s office continued to present evidence Wednesday.

Jurors heard testimony from Scott Steele, a forensic interviewer with Harmony House, a children’s advocacy and social services center, and watched videos of his interviews Wednesday, the second day of the trial.

“I don’t want you to take my word for what the child said. I want you to see the child … at the time … in the words they use, not me telling you,” Steele said.

Steele showed interviews from 2020 of the girls as they alleged inappropriate touching on Runnion’s part.

The trial will resume today in Belmont County Common Pleas Judge John Vavra’s court.

Prosecutor Kevin Flanagan is representing the state and Steven Stickles is representing Runnion.

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