The trial of a former Columbia County commissioner accused of molesting his adopted daughter is expected to begin today.
Scott Dean, 42, is accused of exposing himself to and inappropriately touching his daughter last year. She is one of five children Dean and his wife adopted in 2008 from Guatemala.
Dean, a former District 4 commissioner, resigned after being indicted on two counts of child molestation in February. He pleaded not guilty.
The case has been listed on Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard Jr.’s calendar several times but was postponed each time. Prosecutors have said continuances are common in complicated or major cases.
Dean, a Harlem High School graduate, served on the Harlem City Council and was the city’s mayor for more than five years before being elected in 2008 to the county commission to fill Lee Anderson’s vacant seat.
Dean was re-elected as the District 4 commissioner in November 2010 despite being accused several months earlier of sending inappropriate text messages to a married county employee.
On Sept. 28, a Columbia County grand jury re-indicted Dean on the same child molestation charges but adjusted the dates and the nature of one of the charges, according to court documents.
The initial indictment states the activity occurred between Sept. 1, 2008, and Sept. 11, 2010. The new indictment extends that period to Oct. 11, 2010. Dean entered another not guilty plea Oct. 21.
Assistant District Attorney Parks White recently filed a notice of his intent to bring up evidence that Dean committed similar acts in the past. He alleges Dean molested two girls in West Milford, W.Va., in June 1984, when Dean was 14, according to the notice. Those cases were not prosecuted.
The prosecutor also alleges that between January and October of 2010 Dean attempted to commit incest with two of his daughters, one of whom is the alleged victim in the child molestation case. No charges have been filed in connection with those allegations.
Blanchard will decide before the trial whether that information will be presented to the jury.