ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A midlevel New York court has upheld allowing a therapeutic "comfort dog" in court to help a girl testify about sexual abuse.
The Appellate Division rejected Victor Tohom's appeal of his 2011 convictions for predatory sexual assault against a child, including claims the golden retriever named Rosie made the 15-year-old unduly sympathetic to the Dutchess County jury.
The unanimous ruling by four justices says Tohom failed to show the dog's presence was impermissible under state law or impaired his right to a fair trial.
Prosecutors acknowledged there was no statutory or case law allowing to dog to accompany the girl, though there was precedent for children testifying with a comfort item like a teddy bear.
The 39-year-old Tohom is in prison serving 25 years to life.