Man found guilty of sexually abusing minor
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.