An article in the Metro section June 4 reported incorrectly that a Prince William County grand jury declined to issue an indictment after an investigation into allegations that Virginia and local law enforcement officials suppressed evidence in the 1983 rape and sodomy conviction of Kenneth L. Titcomb. The matter, investigated by a special grand jury, was ended by a three-judge Circuit Court panel that declared that no further action was warranted.
A Prince William County grand jury yesterday indicted a 43-year-old Woodbridge man on a charge of sexually abusing his teen-age daughter, who prosecutors said killed herself in anguish over his repeated assaults.
The indictment against Paul J. Kauffman Jr. came two weeks after a juvenile court judge dismissed the charges at a preliminary hearing. Prosecutors then took the charges directly to a county grand jury, which indicted Kauffman on a charge of aggravated sexual battery involving his 14-year-old adopted daughter Kristi.
Paul Kauffman's lawyer, John E. Kilcarr, said he was surprised by yesterday's grand jury indictment. "We intend to fight it," he said. "I guess we'll see everybody in court again."
Kristi Kauffman, a popular ninth grader and soccer team standout at Osbourn Park High School in Manassas, jumped in front of a moving train behind the school April 1 after telling friends her father had abused her for several years, according to prosecutors.
Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert said investigators later found the girl's handwritten journal chronicling three years of sexual torment.
Juvenile and Domestic Relations Chief Judge Raymond O. Kellam dismissed the case May 20, ruling that prosecutors could not use Kristi's final words to her friends implicating her father as evidence against the elder Kauffman.
Ebert said yesterday he plans to use Kristi's friends as witnesses in a trial in circuit court. He also said he would seek to introduce her diary as evidence. No trial date has been set.
At last month's hearing, Kellam, noting that the honor student had downed a soda bottle full of vodka before jumping in front of the train, said, "The trustworthiness of someone who takes his or her own life is fatally flawed."
The judge then rejected Ebert's argument that Kristi's final words constituted a "dying declaration" -- a statement by someone who knows death is near, and which is considered more truthful than other secondhand statements.
At the May hearing, Prince William County police investigator John Urban testified that Paul Kauffman, a car salesman, told him he had been intimate with his daughter on numerous occasions, sometimes as often as four times a week.