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Defense team seeks evaluation of teen accuser in Hernando County abuse case

BROOKSVILLE — Attorneys for a Spring Hill woman accused of imprisoning a 17-year-old boy in a bathroom and torturing him filed a motion Thursday asking that the teenager undergo a psychological evaluation by a forensic psychologist of their choosing.

In the motion, Tai-Ling Gigliotti's attorneys claim that previous statements and testimony from the boy indicate that he is not a "legally competent witness" and "may lack the requisite fear of lying" and because he is "sociopathic and unremorsefully untruthful and thus incompetent to testify."

James Brown, Gigliotti's attorney, requests that the teen, Gigliotti's adopted nephew, either submit to an evaluation, or at least an interview, with clinical psychologist Valerie McClain of Tampa, an expert witness.

Gigliotti, 51, faces two counts of aggravated child abuse. If convicted, she would face up to 60 years in prison.

She is set to appear in court Thursday for a pretrial conference. The motion will likely be addressed at that hearing.

Assistant State Attorney Brian Trehy declined comment about the motion other than to say it was "without merit."

"It will be addressed in court," he said Thursday evening.

Also in court that day will be Gigliotti's former fiance, Anton Angelo, who reached a plea deal with prosecutors last month. In exchange for his testimony against Gigliotti, prosecutors dropped one of the two charges of aggravated child abuse against Angelo and agreed that he will serve no prison time on the remaining charge.

Instead he will serve five years of probation.

Gigliotti, the widow of famed clarinetist Anthony Gigliotti, and the boy moved from the Philadelphia area to a house on Whitmarsh Street in Spring Hill in 2004. According to investigators, the abuse quickly followed.

When the teen escaped from a barricaded bathroom in the house in early February 2009 and ran to neighbors for help, he told authorities he had spent nearly 15 months imprisoned there.

Investigators said they found bruises on the then-16-year-old from repeated beatings that broke his right forearm and left open wounds on his buttocks. They found weapons, including a metal-tipped hose, that allegedly were used to inflict the wounds.

But defense attorneys claim the boy's story is greatly exaggerated and riddled with discrepancies that undermine the case.

In the motion filed Thursday, they said previous psychological reports and other evidence show the teen "has no scruples nor conscience against lying and is willing to manipulate facts and evidence in support of the attainment of his personal ends."

They also claim the boy had previously attacked Gigliotti, tried to burn down the home and caused "destruction and physical damage to property," among a number of other claims.

The motion also states that Angelo previously has testified that he feared "for his personal safety and well-being at the hands of the said victim."

Attorneys for Angelo didn't immediately return a message left for them Thursday evening.

The boy is not being identified because he is a juvenile.

Joel Anderson can be reached at joelanderson@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6120. You can follow Joel on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ jandersontimes.

Defense team seeks evaluation of teen accuser in Hernando County abuse case 04/22/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 22, 2010 9:46pm]
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