Our client was falsely accused of molesting his teenage stepdaughter. One morning, the child stated that he touched her inappropriately while trying to wake her up. The child ran from the house in apparent distress and the allegation appeared convincing to her family and to the police. Our client met with the police and explained to them that he was absolutely innocent. Without any investigation, our client was arrested and charged with child molestation. It was not until a week later that the police sent the girl for a forensic interview. The interviewer was very inexperienced and she engaged in repeated suggestive questioning and used many improper interview techniques. As a result of the interview, there was a new allegation revealed that our client allegedly touched the stepdaughter on another occasion a couple years earlier.
During our investigation, we were able to prove that the night before the alleged incident, the girl had watched the movie The Last House on the Left. In the movie, there is a scene where a teenage girl was sexually assaulted in a manner very similar to the stepdaughter’s story. The movie was analyzed frame by frame by our expert along with the videotape of the forensic interview. The expert concluded that the girl’s statements during the forensic interview were completely unreliable as a result of the suggestive questioning and faulty interview techniques.
The case was indicted in Chattooga County Superior Court and our client was charged with both of the allegations. We filed a demurrer contending that the allegation of the prior incident was not proper since the date range in the indictment was not sufficiently narrowed. The court granted the demurrer and dismissed that charge from the indictment.
We then proceeded to trial on the original allegation made by the stepdaughter. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury found our client not guilty. Several of the jurors later reported that it was the testimony of our expert that convinced them of our client’s innocence.