Stagecoach man not guilty of child rape charges
Appeal Staff Writer
After seven months behind bars, a Stagecoach man was freed from custody Thursday following his acquittal by a Yerington jury on a half-dozen child sex charges.
In an emotionally tense courtroom filled with Scott Jensen supporters and detractors, the 50-year-old married father, was found not guilty on two counts of sexual assault and four counts of lewdness with a minor, said Jensen’s attorney Jesse Kalter.
“When you are found not guilty, basically from a death sentence, it’s pretty emotional for everybody,” said Kalter’s law partner, Wayne Pedersen, who did not take part in the trial.
Kalter said he was uncertain what swayed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty, but that the prosecution’s lack of DNA or physical evidence, coupled with conflicting statements on the witness stand from the teenage accusers, was apparently too much for the prosecution to overcome.
“These are hard cases in every way,” said Deputy District Attorney Su Lee, who handled the case. “We don’t charge someone unless we believe in their guilt. But the jury considered the evidence and the law and they reached a verdict. That’s the way our systems works.”
Court documents alleged that the two victims were subjected to fondling and pornography and that on at least two occasions, one of them was subjected to rape.
Kalter said that during the trial it was revealed to jurors that one of the accusers was in Jensen’s care from infancy to age 12, and when the girl discovered in her early teens that she could run free if she didn’t live under Jensen’s roof, the allegations arose.
“I think, cumulatively, the state just couldn’t overcome the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” Kalter said. “I think what it really came down to was there were too many inconsistencies between the children – not as to dates, not as to minor details – but as to whether something happened or whether it did not. I think the verdict is just.”
He said his client is more than relieved at the outcome, but that the verdict will do little to assuage all that Jensen lost during his months of incarceration.
“It’s a sad deal when someone is accused of this, whether they are found innocent later or not. Their reputation in the community is just trashed,” Kalter said. “Child sexual assault or even adult sexual assault is the easiest crime to allege against somebody and one of the toughest crimes to defend because there is so much emotion involved. But he has his life back now and he will have to take the necessary steps to move on.”
• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at email@example.com or 881-1213.
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