After three days of testimony that saw the former Harlem mayor and Columbia County commissioner dispute charges that he sexually molested one of his adopted daughters, jurors began deliberations late Wednesday afternoon, but after an hour they were sent home for the day.
They will resume deliberations at 9:30 a.m. today.
Dean, 42, is charged with two counts of child molestation. He is accused of exposing himself to and inappropriately touching his daughter, one of the five he and his wife adopted from Guatemala in 2008.
Among those testifying Wednesday was the English coach of Dean’s adopted children, who said Dean’s oldest daughter, Marlin, told her that he touched her in her bed at night.
Marlin, who ran away to Mexico just days before her younger sister made allegations against Dean in October 2010, testified that she was referring to her biological father, not Dean.
The accuser, now 17, said from the stand Tuesday that Dean crawled into her bed and touched her vaginal area. Dean and Marlin testified that the accuser lied about the allegations.
Dean’s attorney, Pete Theodocion, said the girl made up the allegations, just after her older sister ran away, to get out of the house. Both girls admit they did not get along with Dean’s wife, Renee, and the accuser testified Tuesday that she wanted to go with Marlin and would do anything to get out of the house.
“She didn’t want to be there. She wanted to be with Marlin,” Theodocion said during his closing arguments Wednesday afternoon. “(The accuser) never made any allegations at all until Marlin left. That’s when the motive came to light, to get out.”
The incidents occurred between Sept. 1, 2008, and Oct. 11, 2010, according to an amended indictment issued in September.
The accuser said she was 15 at the time of the incidents, but could not narrow down a date. If they occurred after her 16th birthday on Sept. 12, 2010, no law was broken, Dean’s lawyer said.
“Sept. 8 is a crime,” Theodocion said. “Sept. 13 is not. She couldn’t tell either way.”
Theodocion also called several people to testify to Dean’s character and trustworthiness, including state Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans, who said Dean has a good reputation, as did county Planning Commissioner Bob Newkirk and two longtime friends and colleagues.
Dean resigned his commission seat after being indicted in February.