Trial Ends in Not Guilty Verdict
NELIGH — A 45-year-old Neligh man accused of sexual assault of a child was found not guilty late Tuesday afternoon by a jury.
The eight men and four women in the jury deliberated about three and a half hours before returning the not guilty verdict.
Sandra Allen of the Nebraska Attorney General's Office on Tuesday afternoon told jurors during closing arguments that someone was lying and someone was telling the truth.
“Who are you to believe?” Allen asked the jury.
The jury believed the defendant, whose name is not being released by the Daily News to protect the identity of the alleged victim. The defendant was represented by Ron Temple, an attorney from Norfolk.
It took seven days of testimony to present all the evidence in Antelope County District Court.
When the trial began, the man faced two counts of sexual assault of a child. During the trial, Judge James Kube dismissed one of the charges.
Allen said sexual assaults of various natures took place between the defendant and the alleged victim from July 6, 2009, to Sept. 17, 2010.
The girl, who was 12 when the alleged abuse began, said it eventually became her job to give her father hip rubs, Allen said.
“It was from these hip rubs that these sexual acts were born,” Allen said.
The defendant said in testimony that his children often gave him back and hip rubs to ease his pain from a bad back and hips made worse by obesity.
Considerable testimony included graphic details about sex acts, including from the alleged victim and details about the defendant.
Allen said there is no way a 12-year-old would know some of these details unless she experienced it with the defendant.
But Temple said there were inconsistencies in some of the evidence and testimony presented.
Temple said the alleged victim didn’t like her household rules, which included that she couldn’t date, had to do household chores, didn’t like being restricted on the computer and didn’t have a cell phone.
The alleged victim also wanted and pretended to be the daughter of a teacher, Temple said. She and her friends had other personalities and names that they used, Temple said.
“These girls have issues,” he said.
Allen said the alleged victim made up a personality to be sympathetic toward her friends.
“Could this just be three middle school girls doing something stupid? A game?” she said.
Regardless, it doesn’t matter, Allen said, because the personalities were not relevant to the case.
The defendant also was recorded having phone conversations from jail that were presented as evidence by the prosecution.
But Temple said out of 2,500 minutes of phone calls, only about five minutes of the calls were presented to the jury to try to prove guilt.
That’s less than .2 of 1 percent, Temple said, which should have included more discussion of he was indeed guilty.
Temple said the defendant’s actions of anger and trying to figure out what he did while in jail are consistent with an innocent victim being accused of something that he did not do.
Some “disturbing” and “concerning” things were happening in the alleged victim’s life, but one thing that was not happening was sexual assault by the defendant, Temple said.
Posted on: Friday, August 10, 2012
Last modified on: Friday, July 8, 2016