Thu, Oct 04, 2007 - Page 7 News List

Girl in sex video found, mother had `no idea of abuse'

AP , LAS VEGAS

The mother of a girl who was videotaped being raped years ago had no idea of the abuse before last week, when a friend saw the child's face on the news and called her, the woman's attorney said on Tuesday.

Attorney Jerry Donohue called the woman "a typical American single mother" who worked six days a week and was "trying to be `supermom.'" He said the abuse appeared to have taken place about four years ago while the child was left in a babysitter's care.

The girl, now 7, appeared to be a "happy, perfectly healthy little girl" during a recent afternoon with medical professionals, Donohue said during a brief statement outside his Las Vegas office. He said she may have been just two years old when she was assaulted.

"I believe she has no memory of this event," Donohue said, although he added that he could not be sure.

Authorities released portions of the video last week, desperate to find a child they feared could have still been in danger.

Donohue said the mother had no relationship with a man being sought in the attack. Police and the FBI are conducting a nationwide manhunt for Chester "Chet" Arthur Stiles, 37, whom they consider armed and dangerous.

Police say they believe Stiles is the man who raped and videotaped the girl, who was about three years old at the time. He has not been charged in the attack but is wanted in a separate case.

Stiles has been described as a violent survivalist who always carries a weapon and has a string of arrests dating to 1999.

The mother had "no relationship with Stiles. None at all," Donohue said. "This event is believed to have occurred while she was at work."

Donohue said he knows who the babysitter was when the mother believes the girl was attacked, but could not reveal that information because of the police investigation.

Donohue said that given the six-month time frame during which the mother believes the abuse could have taken place, the girl might have been assaulted shortly before she turned three.

Donohue pleaded for privacy for the family, and said the mother was cooperating with the police search. He would not identify the woman and asked that photos of the girl no longer be publicized.

Authorities have said the 30-minute tape was recorded four years ago in Las Vegas and surfaced last month.

Donohue said he hoped the young girl's attacker would be captured or kill himself.

"Speaking as a father myself, I wish the guy would dig a hole in the desert and put a gun in his mouth," Donohue said. "Wild West justice, the way I see it."

Police Captain Vincent Cannito said police were checking hundreds of tips. He called Stiles "a very dangerous individual" with a violent past.

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