Former 4-H employee's child molestation trial to go into a third day



The trial of a former 4-H employee accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl focused Tuesday on witnesses testifying on her behalf.

The trial of Jennifer Gayle Davenport, 27, of Augusta, started Monday. Prosecutors rested their case after the girl underwent cross-examination, including a review of her videotaped interview at the Child Advocacy Center.

Davenport was arrested April 1 and charged with aggravated sexual battery and aggravated child molestation after the girl’s mother told Columbia County Sheriff’s Office investigators that she discovered Davenport and her daughter had a sexual relationship.

The relationship took place in the girl’s Martinez home on three occasions in February, prosecutors say.

Investigator Brian Jones testified that the only evidence is the girl’s statement.

Davenport’s attorney, Lynn Akeley-Alderman, contended in her opening statement Monday that the girl made up the allegations. On Tuesday, Akeley-Alderman called 10 people to the stand as character witnesses for Davenport, who was a 4-H program assistant for about a year until just before her arrest.

They described Davenport as an outgoing person who was popular among the youths she worked with.

“The kids loved her,” said Linda Luoma, who worked with Davenport in the 4-H office. “She’s fun-loving. The kids loved to be around her.”

Seven of the girl’s peers in 4-H and high school testified that they spent a lot of time with Davenport without any inappropriate behavior. They all agreed that the girl’s “reputation in the community for truthfulness” wasn’t a good one. One said the girl is known for “exaggeration.”

None of the teens said they would believe her under oath.

One teen said the girl persistently asked her whether Davenport abused her and urged her to come forward with allegations.

The defense rested its case.

Jurors are expected to hear closing arguments and begin deliberations Wednesday.

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