Fort Lauderdale Youth Mentor Not Guilty of Child Molestation
Four men and two women jurors found a 50-year-old former youth mentor not guilty of 27 counts of lewd and lascivious conduct and sexual battery of a minor on Thursday. The jury deliberated for six hours over the course of two days before announcing their decision.
Seven men came forward and accused the man of molesting them while they were in his care as teenagers. Text messages from the man’s phone apparently contained lewd propositions and the man’s wife even testified that she walked in on him in bed with a 16-year-old boy.
However, despite all of the evidence stacked against him, the jury was not convinced the man actually harmed anyone.
The man still faces similar charges stemming from accusations made by five other teenagers. He currently remains in custody without bond at the Broward Main Jail awaiting trial.
Prosecutors argued that the man’s charitable acts were a cover for predatory conduct. They alleged that at least 12 former guests of the man’s home accused him of trading sexual favors for money, video games and clothes.
The alleged abuse took place from 2000 until 2011, but the first accusations were made shortly before the man’s arrest in January 2012. Prosecutors claim there was no DNA evidence to gather, which worked in the man’s favor.
The man’s defense lawyer explained to jurors that the incriminating text messages were sent at times that the man could have been partaking in church activities, meaning that anyone, including his accusers, could have had access to his cellphone.
The man is scheduled to appear back in court for a status hearing on April 30.
Child molestation and sexual abuse cases can easily be brought against you simply based off one person’s word against yours, regardless of whether any evidence points to the contrary. Lack of factual and scientific evidence is no hindrance to the prosecution, as they will look for and use any means possible to try a sex crimes case and obtain a conviction. Prosecutors are trained to twist any inconsistencies in statements, interviews, behaviors and even medical exams to fit their theory of what happened, regardless of your innocence.
If you have been charged with child molestation, sexual abuse or any other type of sexual offense involving a juvenile, you must take immediate action. The longer you wait to mount an effective defense strategy, the more time the prosecution has to build a case against you. Despite the circumstances surrounding your arrest, you need to explore your legal options so that you know what to expect. Sex crimes cases are very delicate and require an experienced criminal lawyer who has worked heavily with these sensitive and convoluted situations. A South Florida Sex Crimes Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you safeguard your future from a wrongful conviction. For more information about how we can assist with your sex crimes case, please call us today at 866-608-5529 or contact us online for a completely free and confidential case evaluation.