Special Kay

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The prosecutor leads Rauth-Farley through her resume--undergraduate, graduate and medical school degrees from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, residency at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, a pediatrician for 16 years, at St. Joseph's Hospital since 1989.

She makes eye contact with the jurors, and is serious but relaxed on the stand.

This case is a tough one for the prosecution: When the little girl was 5, she told her mother that grandpa had stuck his finger into her vagina. He says he may have accidentally touched her genitals briefly when she was sitting on his lap.

Rauth-Farley tells jurors that the girl's exam showed no signs of injury. She says she saw signs of redness outside the child's labia, but that it wasn't a significant finding.

Candace Kent asks the doctor, "The bottom line with a history of touching, you wouldn't expect to find any physical signs?"

"That's correct."
"And if the touching is momentary and accidental, you're not going to find any physical signs?"

"That's correct."
Kent asks Rauth-Farley to recall what she'd said at the Bar meeting in April. The doctor sticks to her earlier comment, that prepubescent girls sometimes mistake touching as penetration.

As she leaves the courtroom, Rauth-Farley passes a little blond girl engulfed by family members. It's the alleged victim.

The doctor turns to a young resident at St. Joe's who watched her testify.
"I have to tell the jury what I found," Rauth-Farley tells him, turning her testimony into a teaching lesson, "and I can't be evasive. That's not right. I have to tell it like I see it. Do I think the little girl is telling the truth? Sure. But it's not my job to sort that out."

The defendant is acquitted on one charge, with the jury deadlocked on the other. Prosecutors say they plan to retry the man on the remaining count.

Kay once told me that there's never a day that she doesn't want to take a child home with her.

--Rauth-Farley's mother, Betty Rauth

When Kay Rauth-Farley was about 14, her younger sister, Jeanne, hurt an arm horsing around in their front yard.

Betty Rauth looked at the arm briefly, then sent Jeanne off to bed. That night, Jeanne slept fitfully. In the morning, her parents saw something that became the stuff of family legend.

"Kay had gotten two rulers and some dish towels and wrapped up Jeanne's arm in a kind of splint," Betty Rauth recalls. "I guess it was the born doctor in her coming out."

The Rauths took Jeanne to the family doctor that day. Indeed, her arm was broken.

Mary Kay Rauth-Farley was the third of seven children born into what she calls a "classic Beaver Cleaver, 1950s-type, middle-class white" family.

John Rauth was a World War II hero who owned a construction company in rustic St. Joseph, Missouri. Betty Rauth was a homemaker who took her job seriously.

"I guess you could say we are traditionalists," says Betty Rauth, now in her 70s. "We had family meals together every night, and the person who finished first couldn't leave until everyone was done. We went to church together--we're pretty devout Catholics. You could say we were very strict with the kids."

Even as a youngster, the Rauths say, Kay stood out for one trait.
"She always was a very determined little lady," her mother says. "I mean, very determined. When she set out to do something, she did it."

Musically inclined, Kay learned to play the accordion before she was 10. In high school, she sang in the church chorus and with a group of other teenage girls called The Daisies.

She also developed a work ethic.
"We told them all we'd send them to college," her father says, "but they had to work at school and in the summers. To us, there was a fair deal."

Kay's jobs during high school and college ran the gamut:
"Before I was 16, I spent one summer detasseling corn, you know, so the corn wouldn't have sex with each other, wouldn't pollinate. It was hot and sweaty work, but with this ice-cold irrigation water coming up on our legs."

Rauth-Farley was a maid at a hotel, a factory worker, a cashier, and a surgical tech, among other jobs. All the while, she remained fixated on becoming a doctor, even after she passed out in high school while watching a gory auto-safety film.

She and her sister Patty were close in age and were inseparable. Patty followed Kay to Creighton University, a Jesuit school in Omaha, about 150 miles from St. Joseph. (Patty Hayes is a pharmacist in St. Joseph.)

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Paul Rubin
Contact: Paul Rubin