Did Cory Jordan Fisher Sr.’s two adopted sons despise him enough to take the witness stand and make up stories about years of humiliating sexual abuse?

That is the crucial question for the nine-man, three-woman jury that began deliberating this morning on whether the former correctional officer sexually assaulted John Doe One and John Doe Two, committing acts ranging from fondling to forcible sodomy and forcible oral copulation.

Fisher also is accused of one act of molestation on his youngest son, beating up Doe Two and sexually assaulting three prisoners in Humboldt County Correctional Facility.

But a guilty verdict on the alleged molestation of the two older boys could put him in prison for life.


During his closing argument, Deputy Conflict Counsel David Lee said the accounts of the two older boys are “self-contained,” with no corroborating evidence or physical evidence to back them up. He said Does One and Two hated Fisher for the years of physical abuse they endured, and were especially upset when their mother allowed Fisher to come home after he assaulted Doe Two. It was then the adopted sons told their mother Fisher had been sexually assaulting them for years.

Lee told the jury that to presume Fisher is innocent, which they are required to do, “is to start with the assumption that (the boys’ claims) are false.”

The defense attorney asked why the boys, now 20 and 23, had waited so long to disclose the abuse.

“Let’s not forget that the one thing common to all false reports is a delay in reporting,” he said.

Lee argued the motive for lying about the abuse is clear: Fisher’s attack on Doe Two left him so battered he was fired from his job for looking unprofessional.

“The physical abuse had gotten out of hand,” Lee said, “and the defendant was still in the picture.”

Both men testified their mother, Angela Fisher, witnessed many instances of physical abuse. But she always forgave her husband and let him stay.

False accusations of child abuse, Lee said, was what finally convinced Angela to end the relationship.

“Nothing else has ever gotten rid of Mr. Fisher,” he said.

As for the alleged molestation of John Doe Three, who said Fisher touched his penis when he was 10 years old, Lee said the now 12-year-old provided two different versions of that incident. He told a specially trained interviewer that Fisher had asked whether his “PP” was hard, then touched him. But on the witness stand, the boy said Fisher “almost” touched his genitals and only rubbed his upper thigh.

Lee questioned whether the boy’s recollection was a lie, or possibly a dream.

“Or did he just want to join the parade when he learned his brothers were saying they’d been molested?”

As for the complaining inmates, Lee pointed to their extensive criminal records, and the fact that two of the three received settlements from the county after filing their reports against Fisher. For 10 years Fisher worked as a correctional officer with no problems, Lee said, then suddenly in the summer of 2017 he supposedly began sexually assaulting prisoners.

Apart from money, he said, the inmates could have been motivated simply by the “pure joy” of accusing a correctional officer.

Deputy District Attorney Stacey Eads, responding this morning to Lee’s argument, said the inmates are not good citizens and are in jail where they belong. But that doesn’t mean they’re not people, she said, and society can’t “turn a blind eye” when they’ve been victimized.

The one inmate who asked for no money — and will never receive any — testified that all he wanted was an apology from Fisher.

Inmate Three, who has spent most of his life in jail or prison, cried when he told a sheriff’s detective about how Fisher yanked on his penis during a pat-down, “like milking a goat or a cow.”

As to the credibility of the older John Does, Eads reminded the jury they can lawfully convict based only the testimony of a sexual assault victim. But there is corroborating evidence, the prosecutor said.

Independent testimony verified the boys shared bunkbeds, with Doe Two on the top bunk and Doe One on the bottom. It was verified the Fishers had an inflatable hot tub in their basement, where Fisher allegedly forced Doe One to sodomize him. The physical abuse they endured was verified, as was the claim that Fisher was an alcoholic.

It was confirmed Fisher visited one of the boys’ schools wearing his officer’s uniform, and his behavior was so hostile that the principal wrote him a letter telling him it wouldn’t be tolerated.

It also was verified that Fisher had regular access to the children, as he was their caretaker when their mother was at work or otherwise occupied.

Does One and Two spoke independently with law enforcement, Eads said.

Not long after Does One and Two told their mother about the sexual abuse, Angela Fisher and Doe Two visited their good friends to tell them what Fisher had been doing.

The couple testified, saying Doe Two was crying and very upset.

Eads referred back to the testimony of the older two boys, saying they testified in public despite their shame and embarrassment about how they had been violated.

Doe One, now an Army soldier, traveled from South Korea to testify against Fisher. He had earlier been stationed in Afghanistan.

He said he’d been “very nervous” about disclosing the information, fearing people would think less of him.

“I don’t like what’s happened to me to define the man I am today,” Doe One testified. “I don’t want pity. I don’t want them to think I’m less of a man because of what I’ve been through.”

When he left to join the Army at 17, saying he could no longer tolerate Fisher’s abuse, he told Fisher he would keep quiet about the forced sex acts as long as Fisher didn’t touch his brothers or anyone else. He never suspected Doe Two was also a target.

“I thought whatever sick, deranged fetish this man had, it was being fulfilled by me,” Doe One testified.

“He sacrificed himself for his brothers,” Eads told the jury. “That’s very sad.”

Doe Two testified about how difficult it was to tell a complete stranger about his ordeal, but said as he thought about it he realized he had a duty.

”I thought that if I don’t tell everything I need to tell,” he said, “he could possibly do this to other children and I’ve got to be strong for them.”

As for John Doe Three, who told two differing accounts of abuse, Eads reminded jurors that under the law, touching any part of the body can be considered molestation if the suspect’s intent is to gratify sexual desire.

The jury was expected to break for lunch at noon and begin deliberating again at 1:30 p.m. Judge Timothy Canning told the three alternate jurors they were free to leave, but they were asked to remain “within about an hour from the courthouse” in case they are needed.