Our client was innocent of all wrongdoing. There was never any evidence to support the allegations against him.

Ohio man acquitted of rape
Tuesday, May 11, 1999

PAINESVILLE - A Lake County jury yesterday found a 37-year-old local man not guilty of two charges of rape of a minor. The jury of seven men and five women also found the man not guilty of 12 counts of gross sexual imposition with a minor. The jury deliberated two days before reaching the verdicts.

He was accused of inappropriately touching a 10-year-old girl on numerous occasions.

Defense attorneys had filed at least 12 motions questioning aspects of the trial, which began April 20, according to court documents. Prosecutors called the motions excessive. Defense lawyers pointed out that 9 of the 12 motions were granted.

Karen Kowall, Lake Country Assistant Prosecutor said "The Jurors didn't get a broad sense of the evidence in this case and failed this kid." Kowall said that the child testified over a 3 day period and her testimony was interrupted by at least one hearing of attempted jury tampering by the prosecution. Judge Martin O. Parks also denied allowing the testimony of several defense experts after disallowing prosecution experts to testify as to hearsay statements and a nurse who admitted outside the presence of the jury that her findings were "remotely possible" to have been caused by sexual abuse "but are extremely unlikely." Parks denied allowing testimony by defense experts that the examination was entirely normal and the claims otherwise were incompetent. Also Parks refused to allow Dr. Allison Clark-Stewart of the University of California - Irvine to testify as to the excessive interviews of the child and the coercive style of interviews used on the child. Defense lawyers (from the A-Team) were happy with the verdict but had hoped for an opportunity to present a great deal more evidence of their client's innocence.

Defense team members said that the jury decided correctly. The child had been interviewed numerous times by more than 12 different individuals, which included coaching sessions using anatomical dolls and sending the child to acting lessons to aid her testimony. "Despite the attempts to coach the child" said one of the defense lawyers, "the child frequently could not answer the prosecutor's leading questions until asked several times." "When asked to describe details of the alleged molestation she replied 'I don't know' and could not fill in any details of abuse, a typical indication of a child who has been coached to say things that never happened."

Prosecutors were angry when the A-Team lawyer cut them off in trying to present deliberately misleading testimony to the jury. Prosecutors attempted to have a Nurse testify that there was medical evidence of abuse, knowing that the examination was normal. Which was one of the legal skirmishes (motions) the defense filed. The nurse wanted to testify that although the exam was normal, that abuse still had occurred and that abnormalities she saw (but nobody else did) could have been caused by penetration. The nurse has testified to identical facts many times before, this was the first time a properly framed objection had been made against this highly speculative testimony.

Upon questioning the arresting officer admitted that he had to be ordered to arrest the accused. That he found him to be cooperative and truthful.

Our client was innocent of all wrongdoing. There was never any evidence to support the allegations against him. It's been our position all along that these allegations were fabricated and exaggerated by the manipulation of some family members," said local attorney John Fatica.

The case became the talk of the legal community in the Cleveland area according to some news reports because they had never seen a case like this represented as aggressively and thoroughly. Several jurors were so outraged at the case that they remained after the court session ended to berate prosecutor Kowall for wasting their time and the taxpayer's money on such a poor case.

Compiled from AP and other news sources

The client was accused in a new case involving a 14 year old girl at his home in Painesville and charged again by prosecutor Kowall of rape. Details of the story, reported in the local newspapers in the Cleveland area differed greatly. Differences in the new case included that there were witnesses and that the man was very drunk. We'll probably never know the whole truth because the man was now "broke" and unable to defend himself. He was released on bond and killed himself in his home. He was also despondent because his second wife had divorced him. Principals in the first case have been making the claims that this proves the original allegations were true. A jury of 12 and 2 alternates didn't agree.

The ultimate truth is not likely to be known, because the allegations will never be tested by a vigorous defense. There are some people, familiar with the case who have said that the events, whatever they were, have been greatly embellished in the reporting. The A-Team was not involved in the new case.