Second Degree Sexual Assault Child Molestation
A middle-aged, corporate officer was accused by two small children, a boy and a girl, of simple assault and sexual assault, respectively. The allegations stemmed from a random encounter between the man and children at an outdoor polo match. The event was attended by thousands of people to include bystanders, participants and those who worked at the event. The children alleged that while visiting the horse trailers on the polo grounds they encountered the man with whom they had no prior relationship or familiarity. The three engaged in conversation about horses and other innocuous subject matter. The children described that while talking with the man, he physically touched them. The boy alleged that the man put his arm around him and rubbed both his shoulder and chest. The girl alleged the man did the same to her, but also placed his hand up her dress and touched between her legs in the area of her vagina, private area and underwear. The children parted ways with the man and immediately ran to tell their parents of the encounter. This prompted the parents to call the police, which triggered an investigation. The man was ultimately identified, arrested and charged. He retained Attorney John L. Calcagni III to defend him in this matter. After extensive pretrial investigations, discovery and negotiations, the man ultimately proceeded to trial.
Trial lasted more than one week. The Defense presented no evidence, but instead focused its efforts on attacking the prosecution’s case by cross-examining its witnesses and filing motions to limit or prohibit the admissibility of certain evidence. Many of the defense motions were granted, which is why the defense chose not present any affirmative evidence or call any of its previously disclosed witnesses. Attorney Calcagni focused on cross-examining the man’s accusers, the two children. During questioning, he highlighted the man’s friendly tone of voice, use of pleasant and appropriate language, and innocent subject matter during his conversation with the children. Attorney Calcagni also emphasized that the man acted normally and in a non-violent manner. He also pointed out that the man was holding a drink in one hand and a cigar in the other when talking with the children making it physically impossible for him to have committed the alleged assaults. Lastly, Attorney Calcagni elicited from the boy that he did not see the man touch the girl, thereby undermining her claim that he placed his hand up her dress and touched her vagina. During cross-examination of the girl, Attorney Calcagni made similar points. He focused on the girl’s lack of memory about how, if at all, she was touched under her dress and the fact that she did not observe the man touch her. Attorney Calcagni also highlighted the facts that the man was holding both the drink and cigar in the other, and that at all times, he stood up right next to children opposed to bending or kneeling down. Based on these collective facts, Attorney Calcagni successfully argued to the jury during summation that the girl was mistaken about her belief that she was sexually assaulted. In support of this, he pointed out the lack of corroborating evidence such as independent eyewitnesses to include the boy who was standing nearby and hundreds of others in the immediate vicinity, the alleged girl’s unreliable memory, and physical impossibility of the man touching her under the dress with items in his hands while at all times standing up straight. Lastly, he argued that the prosecution failed to offer any evidence that the man engaged in conduct with the intent for sexual gratification, a required legal element to prove the charged sexual assault crime. After several hours and two days of deliberations, the jury agreed with Attorney Calcagni by voting not guilty of Second Degree Sexual Assault Child Molestation.