Terrible things happened at Lot 19.

We already knew that.

From a 5-year-old girl to a pre-teen boy, no child was safe inside the trailer on Lot 19 at the Patriot Mobile Home Park in west Davenport. Melvin Lucier was a seasoned child sex offender who found his way onto Iowa's Sex Offender Registry long before he found himself a place at Patriot.

Many of the children living there were easy prey for an experienced predator. Some of their parents have been convicted on charges in the sex-crime sweep, too, because they permitted Lucier unsupervised access to their kids, even though they knew about his past.

The kids didn't have a chance, really.

Already sentenced to multiple life sentences for sexually abusing little girls at the park, Lucier appeared Tuesday in Scott County District Court to face a final accuser.

The young man took the witness stand in a dress shirt and tie, taking his time to answer questions: He is 17. He's a high school junior. He's into sports and ROTC and has a part-time job. He was removed from his mother's custody. He lived briefly with his stepdad but has been living with his foster mom since late 2014.

Across the courtroom, in jeans and a light-colored dress shirt, Lucier whispered into his attorney's ear. The eyes behind his dark-rimmed glasses shifted from the witness stand to his attorney, but they rarely cast so much as a glance toward the jury.

The young witness continued, telling about the time in 2011 and 2012 that he spent at the trailer park with his mom, two little sisters and younger brother. And he told about Lucier.

"I called him 'uncle,' sometimes 'grandpa,'" he testified. "He had video games, pop and candy."

All the kids hung out at Lot 19. Sometimes, they spent the night. Other times, the teenager testified, he stayed alone with Lucier.

"He sexually abused me," the teenager said, adding he was 12 years old during periods of abuse. "It started a couple weeks after I moved in. It went on for a long time."

The details that came next are a necessary evil. The 12 jurors and two alternates had to hear them. They are not permitted to be privy to Lucier's previous convictions, but the testimony they heard on Tuesday gave them the idea.

"After a long while, I told my mom," the teen said of the abuse by Lucier. "My mom yelled and cursed at him. They argued a little bit.

"The next day, I was allowed to go back (to Lot 19) for some reason."

After just two hours of testimony, Scott County prosecutors rested their case. The defense rested without calling a witness. On Wednesday, after closing arguments, the final case against Lucier should go to the jury. Regardless the verdict, the predator is going to prison.

And now the children of the Patriot Mobile Home Park can move on — find a way to put Lot 19 in the past.

Their stories have been sickening and heartbreaking. The arrests and charges against pedophiles and parents seemed never to end. But it very nearly is over.

As he walked out of the courthouse Tuesday, the 17-year-old victim chattered cheerfully with his foster mom, negotiating how much TV would be permitted that evening. Maybe he was relieved that it was over. Waiting to testify had to be tough. More hopefully, maybe his smile was evidence of the hope he had shared with the jury.

"I'm learning money management," he had said. "I'm going to a great school.

"I have a bright future ahead of me."

Contact Barb Ickes at 563-383-2316 or bickes@qctimes.com.

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