“I remember my mother dropping me off at an orphanage and telling me she was coming back for me,” Christensen testified.
“Did she come back?” asked Buso.
“No,” said the defendant.
Moments later, he was describing life in the orphanage, and then, under Buso’s direction, showing jurors the burns on his calves, burns he believes were caused by being scalded with boiling water. He doesn’t recall exactly how that happened but testified that he believes that’s what led to his being placed in the orphanage.
“I remember being in the hospital and kind of just yelling,” he said.
In the orphanage, he shared beds and was beaten on the soles of his feet daily, he said. “Whenever we cried, they would tell us to shut up,” he said.
While there were birthday parties, he told jurors, the toys would be “snatched away” after the visitors left.
Then, he was adopted by an American teacher named Stephen Myers.
“At the time, I thought it was normal because I never had anything like that before,” Christensen said, referring to the home and meals Myers provided. “Looking back, I guess it was traumatic.”
Myers, Christensen testified, would frequently make him stay in a closet while visitors came to their home, first in Denver and later in Amherst, where Myers was principal of the high school until questions emerged about inappropriate conduct with students.
Christensen has not previously disclosed any sexual abuse by Myers. But yesterday he told jurors that once, while taking a bath, Myers touched him. “I didn’t realize until I got older, but while I was taking a bath, I remember this one incident where he was kind of helping me out, kind of cleaning my body.”
“Was he touching you?” asked Buso.
“Yeah ... everywhere,” Christensen responded.