Case Results

Acquittal in Bartow County child molestation case

State of Georgia v. S.S.

After being acquitted on most of the counts in the indictment, the prosecutors dismissed the remaining charges against our client.

Our client was falsely accused of molesting a neighbor and his cousin. He had suffered a severe on-the-job injury and received a considerable workers compensation settlement. He purchased some land in Adairsville where he was building his new home.

Shortly after moving onto the land, he met a 16-year-old boy who lived nearby. The boy would frequent our client’s property — helping to cut the grass and with other jobs around the property that our client was unable to do. It appeared to our client that this was the only stable refuge the boy had. His mother had a history of arrests and drug use and was currently under two separate indictments in Bartow County.

The boy later brought his cousin to our client’s property on two occasions. Two years went by and then the boy allegedly made an outcry to his mother that he had been molested by our client. His mother then called her brother and tells him what he said. The cousin’s father then proceeded to question his son if he had also been touched — to which he responded, “yes.”

It became clear to us that this outcry began with suggestive questioning by the parents which could have potentially influenced the boys to make false allegations.

In the police report, it was stated that the boy’s mother said, “I suspected something was happening…I asked him a couple of times if he touched you.” We also discovered that the mother had filed a police report in the same sheriff’s office just a few months earlier alleging that she had been raped by someone — this allegation was later retracted.

The father of the cousin reportedly said that, “I confronted [him] and asked ‘did that man touch you?’” The cousin had never said anything until prompted by his father. Plus, we later learned that there was already some tension between the father and our client. The father had been hired by our client to put the roof on his new home. However, the job did not end well which led to a dispute. Thus, he had a bias against our client prior to this questioning of his son.

These were all red flags which should have been picked up by the investigator. We brought out at trial the fact that this suggestive questioning, especially by adults with a bias against our client, can lead children into making false allegations. We uncovered the fact that these parents had likely also said negative things about our client in the presence of the kids. This is called stereotype induction which is also a known contributor to false allegations.

In reviewing the forensic interviews of the boys, there were numerous inconsistencies and conflicting statements that were given about what allegedly took place. This strongly suggested that these allegations were untrue and further corroborated our belief that this was all a product of the suggestive questioning.

After a week-long jury trial, our client was acquitted on four of the charges in the indictment. On the remaining counts, the jury was hung 9-3 in favor of acquittal. As a result, the State decided to dismiss those counts and close the case.

With the acquittal, our client was able to have the arrest expunged from his record. He now has a successful career building sets for films and television shows.

Categories   |   Child Molestation Cases,

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