A Tennessee man accused of sexual offenses for the second time, has once again avoided the registry.
In 2004, ______ was accused of allegedly molesting a 15 yr. old that had been hired to babysit his children. ______ denied molesting the girl but stated he pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless aggravated assault and a misdemeanor, to spare his family (he is the father of 3) and because his attorney at that time had advised him it was in his best interest. He was sentenced to 3 yrs. probation which was later reduced to less than 1 yr. and was not required to register as a “sex offender”.
In 2015 ______ was again accused, this time the accuser was a 14 yr old girl, the charges are rape, statutory rape by an authority figure and especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor.
The accusers are not named in the news account, even though the current accuser is now 18.
Here’s a snippet of the news account from The Knoxville New Sentinel 9/24/19:
“After nearly five days of testimony last week, a Knox County jury of nine men and three women was set to hear closing arguments in the case Tuesday.” The article goes on to state “Jurors were not allowed to hear about similar charges ______ faced in 2004 for allegedly molesting a 15-year old girl he had hired to babysit his children.”
This article made the front page of the newspaper. The story as written gives enough details of the 2004 charges and court case proceedings that anyone on the jury reading the morning paper now knows all they may think they need to know about the man’s prior conviction and to form negative thoughts about Mr. ______ that could affect his current case.
The fate of Mr. ______ rested in the hands of 12 jurors who weren’t supposed to know anything of his past offenses so that they could decide his fate based only on the current facts before them.
Under the circumstances, I didn’t think Mr. ______ stood a chance, I figured his past offense information would somehow make its way to the jury and he’d be found guilty, this time he’d surely end up on the registry.
But today there was a strange turn of events.
A mistrial was declared after the jurors reached an impasse. After 8 hours and two days of deliberation, the jury was hopelessly deadlocked.
The prosecutor’s case hinged mostly on the accuser’s testimony, which according to the defense attorney, had inconsistencies and seemed to expand and become more elaborate during cross-examination.
The defense attorney questioned whether authorities were pressured to pursue charges despite a lack of evidence. (The accuser had first disclosed the alleged abuse to a family friend who is employed with the Knox County District Attorney’s office.)
Twice accused. Twice set free. Twice avoided the registry.
Sept. 28 2019 update: Prosecutors are pursuing a new trial, a status hearing is set for Nov. 1.