After 3.5 hours of deliberations, a Broward County jury acquitted a Pembroke Pines man of molesting his two stepdaughters three years ago, as they had accused. The 52-year-old was facing a possible sentence of life in prison if convicted on the charges, which included four counts of capital sexual battery, eight counts of lewd and lascivious molestation and a single count of lewd and lascivious conduct.
In closing arguments, prosecutors asserted there was no possible way defendant could innocently explain the conduct the two girls described. The accusers, now ages 11 and 14, alleged defendant touched them inappropriately, bathed with them and one claimed he shaved her. Prosecutors claimed there was no justification for any of this.
As our Broward defense attorneys know, one would have a difficult time justifying such actions – if such actions were proven. However, the facts of this case persuaded jurors to find there was a lack of proof these incidents actually happened in the first place. Perhaps a significant part of that was the fact that the allegations didn’t surface until the divorce proceedings filed by their mother were nearing an end. The pair reportedly had a brief marriage which was also tumultuous. The girls say they didn’t come forward initially because they did not understand that the contact he was initiating was unusual. Defense attorneys, meanwhile, assert the story was dreamed up by the girls’ mother as a way to escape from the marriage without jeopardizing her immigration status. Continue reading