Man found guilty of sex­u­ally abus­ing mi­nor

Maryland Independent - - News - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­ Twit­ter: @An­drew_IndyNews

Af­ter re­ject­ing a par­tial ver­dict that would have ac­quit­ted him and in­stead opt­ing for a mis­trial in Jan­uary, a man on trial to con­test al­le­ga­tions that he sex­u­ally abused a child was found guilty by a jury on Fri­day in Charles County Cir­cuit Court.

Guilty of sex­u­ally abus­ing a mi­nor, third-de­gree sex of­fense, and sec­ond-de­gree as­sault, Ja­son Adam Fallin, 35, of Wal­dorf now awaits a July 13 sen­tenc­ing hear­ing.

Fallin was ac­cused of the abuse in 2012, prompt­ing a pro­tec­tive or­der and a Child Pro­tec­tive Ser­vices (CPS) in­ves­ti­ga­tion, but ul­ti­mately no charges were filed at the time.

Even­tu­ally, the pro­tec­tive or­der ex­pired. Fallin was al­lowed to be around the child again un­der the con­di­tion that his mother would su­per­vise.

How­ever, af­ter spend­ing a week­end with Fallin in Fe­bru­ary 2014, the vic­tim told her mother that she had been abused again, ac­cord­ing to court pro­ceed­ings. Ev­i­dence from the 2012 and 2014 in­ci­dents was pre­sented to a grand jury and he was in­dicted for both in­ci­dents in July.

Dur­ing the first trial in Jan­uary, the prose­cu­tors, As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­neys Sarah Free­man and Ka­trine Bakhtiary, pre­sented their case to a jury in front of Judge Jay West of the Charles County Cir­cuit Court.

To prove his guilt, the state’s case re­lied al­most exclusively on wit­ness tes­ti­monies, in­clud­ing the tes­ti­mony of the vic­tim.

Fallin was rep­re­sented by public de­fender Al­li­son Hel­dreth, who told the ju­rors that these al­le­ga­tions were fab­ri­cated, mo­ti­vated by an on­go­ing dis­pute between the de­fen­dant and the child’s mother and grand­mother.

In Au­gust 2012, the girl al­legedly told her mother that Fallin had touched her in­ap­pro­pri­ately. The vic­tim tes­ti­fied that she was sleep­ing in the same bed as Fallin when she was awo­ken by the touch­ing.

The state called upon a CPS in­ves­ti­ga­tor and a li­censed clin­i­cal coun­selor who had in­ter­viewed the child, and ac­cord­ing to their tes­ti­mony, the girl showed no signs of fab­ri­ca­tion or coach­ing when asked about the abuse.

How­ever, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was in­con­clu­sive and no crim­i­nal charges were filed at the time, ac­cord­ing to court pro­ceed­ings.

And even­tu­ally the pro­tec­tive or­der ex­pired and vis­i­ta­tion re­sumed.

Another al­le­ga­tion arose af­ter the week­end of Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, 2014. Ac­cord­ing to the girl’s tes­ti­mony, which was in­ter­rupted by an emo­tional break­down, Fallin touched her again in porta potty on the In­dian Head Rail Trial in White Plains near Fallin’s par­ents’ house.

She told her mother and ma­ter­nal grand­mother about the in­ci­dent and another pro­tec­tive or­der was ob­tained, but this time crim­i­nal charges were pur­sued, ac­cord­ing to court pro­ceed­ings.

Con­trary to the child’s tes­ti­mony, Fallin’s sis­ter-in-law took the stand and said that she was there that day, and they only walked the trail for a short time be­fore re­turn­ing home be­cause of the cold weather. No one used the porta potty, she tes­ti­fied.

Hel­dreth ad­dressed the jury and re­it­er­ated that she be­lieved the al­le­ga­tions to be fab­ri­cated and that there was am­ple mo­ti­va­tion to do so.

The jury from the Jan­uary trial re­mained dead­locked and could only ar­rive at a par­tial ver­dict, re­sult­ing in a mis­trial. The only thing the ju­rors could unan­i­mously agree upon was the charges that they be­lieved had not been proved be­yond a rea­son­able doubt. Had Fallin ac­cepted the par­tial ver­dict, he would have been ac­quit­ted. But rather than risk­ing a con­vic­tion, he opted to motion for mis­trial.

The sec­ond trial be­gan last week, and on Fri­day, the jury re­turned a guilty ver­dict for the 2012 in­ci­dent, but found there was not suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to con­vict Fallin for the 2014 al­le­ga­tions.

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