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High Court Weighs Limits On Child Abuse Evidence

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The Supreme Court is considering limits on the type of evidence that can be used in child abuse cases, a move that could hamstring prosecutors in domestic violence trials.

The justices on Monday debated whether out-of-court statements that children make to their teachers about abuse can be used as evidence if a child is unable to testify in person.

The case involves Darius Clark, a Cleveland man convicted of abusing his girlfriend’s three-year-old son. Clark says allowing the trial court to consider statements the boy made to teachers denied him the constitutional right to confront his accuser.

At issue is the role played by teachers who have a legal duty to report allegations of abuse to authorities. The Ohio Supreme Court voted 4-3 to throw out his conviction.