Conflicting testimony offered up in abuse trial
In March 2009, days after 26-year-old Tracy Gamache was found emaciated and dehydrated outside a Penn Valley trailer, Kathy Roper told an investigator she believed the severely handicapped woman had been abused.
But Roper – who lived on the property – recanted many of the statements she made during two 2009 interviews during her testimony Tuesday in Nevada County Superior Court.
Tracy Gamache’s father, Raymond Gamache Jr., and caregiver, Dawn Renee Anderson, are on trial for dependent adult abuse.
Deputy District Attorney Katie Francis drew out discrepancies between Roper’s testimony Tuesday and statements she made to a Nevada County Sheriff’s detective.
“Did Tracy receive appropriate care?” Francis asked Roper, to which she responded, “Yes.”
“That’s not what you told Detective Strong, is it?” Francis said before reading from the interview transcript. “‘You could tell she’s been abused. I’ve seen that. And I’ve seen the abuse.’ Did you say that?”
“Yes,” Roper said.
On cross-examination, Roper told Ray Gamache’s deputy public defender, Tamara Zuromskis, that she was exaggerating during the interviews because she was “frustrated” over having to care for Tracy Gamache.
Roper said she observed Tracy being fed regularly and that she ate appropriate portion sizes. She said Tracy was bathed, sometimes twice a day, and had her clothes changed regularly.
“Did Ray take good care of Tracy?” Zuromskis asked, to which Roper answered affirmatively. Roper said she never saw him intentionally hurt Tracy and considered him a good father.
Chuck Olson, who said he is a recovering methamphetamine addict who lived on the property at the time, testified he often saw Ray Gamache being verbally abusive to his daughter.
Olson said that he saw Ray Gamache use meth and that it affected the quality of his care, which Olson characterized as negligent.
On one occasion, Olson testified, Roper told him Tracy was in the trailer alone, tied up with sheets.
“Did you call the police?” Zuromskis asked. “You were concerned, but not enough to call the police?”
“I guess I was wrong,” Olson replied.
“Did you think Kathy was making up a story?” Zuromskis asked.
“I believed her,” Olson said.
The trial is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. Thursday.
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail email@example.com or call (530) 477-4229.
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