Former Harlem Mayor and Columbia County Commissioner Scott Dean, accused of molesting one of five adopted daughters, denied any kind of inappropriate kissing or touching after he took the stand Tuesday.
His denial during his trial’s second day came after the girl testified that Dean crawled into her bed and touched her vaginal area.
Dean, who met the children at an orphanage in Guatemala in 2004 and 2005 before he and his wife adopted them in 2008, said cuddling in bed with the children, including the older girls, was normal.
“All the girls had adjustment issues,” Dean said, adding that he, sometimes his wife or their oldest daughter, Marlin, would curl up in bed with the others as comfort. “We would lie and a lot of times we would talk.”
The girl named as the victim, Dean said, had night terrors for months after arriving at their Harlem home.
“(I would) try and hold her,” he said. “Try and put my arms around her and hold her.”
On another occasion, the teen testified, Dean approached her in a bathroom, opened the towel he was wearing and told her he wanted to have sex.
Dean said that his daughter might have seen him run to the laundry room in a towel but that he never exposed himself to or made advances toward her.
The teen is now in counseling and testified that she has never denied the allegations against Dean.
At a pre-trial hearing Monday, Marlin said she had lied about such activity while she had run away to Mexico to garner sympathy and get money from her family.
The younger girl said Tuesday, however, that she told Marlin that Dean had touched her but left out details out of fear.
The girl also testified that Dean treated Marlin, now 18, “like she was his girlfriend or wife.”
Dean said Marlin has always been affectionate.
“She loves to hug,” he testified. “She loves to hold a hand. It reassures her because she’s still got confidence issues.”
In cross-examination, the younger girl admitted she didn’t get along with Dean’s wife, Renee, and wanted to run away with her sister. She stayed in the home after her sister ran away because Marlin said she’d have a better life here.
She also said she chose to live with foster parents after her initial interviews in October 2010 because she feared Dean would touch her again. But by then, Dean was already removed from the home by a court order and not allowed to return, said his attorney, Pete Theodocion.
On Monday, Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. ruled that Assistant District Attorney Parks White could present evidence that Dean committed similar sex acts against other underage girls. West Virginia twin sisters testified that Dean, then 14, molested them when they were 12.
No charges were filed in those cases. Dean testified that it was his first sexual experience and that it was consensual.