Jury finds Scott Dean guilty on two counts of child molestation

Jury finds Scott Dean guilty on two counts of child molestation

Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011 2:42 PM
Last updated Friday, Dec. 16, 2011 8:04 AM
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A Columbia County jury on Thursday found former Columbia County commissioner Scott Dean guilty of molesting his adopted teen daughter.

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Scott Dean talks to his wife, Renee, and daughter Marlin while waiting for a verdict in his child molestation trial. Dean was found guilty on two counts.  Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
Scott Dean talks to his wife, Renee, and daughter Marlin while waiting for a verdict in his child molestation trial. Dean was found guilty on two counts.

The jury started deliberations late Wednesday afternoon and spent about seven hours discussing the case before rendering the verdict against Dean, also a former mayor of Harlem.

After the court clerk read the verdict, Dean hung his head but remained calm as deputies led him away to Columbia County Detention Center. The courtroom was silent except for the soft sobs of Dean’s wife, Renee, and eldest daughter, Marlin, hugging each other in the front row. Dean’s mother, Rikki Dean put her hand over her mouth.

Dean, 42, was charged with two counts of child molestation. He was accused of exposing himself to and inappropriately touching another daughter, one of five the Deans adopted from Guatemala in 2008.

Child molestation carries a 5-to-20-year sentence, Assistant District Attorney Parks White said. Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. did not immediately sentence Dean. By request of Dean’s attorney, he will be sentenced at a later date, which was not set Thursday.

The verdict stunned some who knew Dean well.

“I’m honestly shocked,” said Harlem City Councilman John Thigpen, who served with Dean when he was mayor. “I’ve known Scott a while and I’m finding the whole thing hard to believe.”

Thigpen said he tried to offer Dean encouragement when the two spoke Wednesday evening.

“I talked to him (Wednesday) night and he was calm,” Thigpen said Thursday, “but I could tell he was in a nervous state and naturally worried. I told him to keep his head up.”

The four-day trial featured Dean disputing charges from his daughter, now 17, that he crawled into her bed at night and touched her. She also said that Dean exposed himself to her by opening a towel he was wearing and said he wanted to have sex.

Defense attorney Pete Theodocion said during the trial that the girl made up the allegations because she was angry that Marlin left her behind when her sister ran away to Mexico in October 2010 and that there was tension with Dean’s wife.

Several people testified that the victim and another sister met with Dean’s wife and a family friend and said they lied about the allegations. But during her testimony, the victim stood by her story.

Marlin insinuated to Columbia County sheriff’s investigators that Dean tried to have sex with her but later recanted, saying she lied to make people feel sorry for her and send her money.

That there seemed to be some story changes by the girls made some residents question the verdict.

“I didn’t feel like it was compelling evidence,” said longtime Harlem resident Jack Hatcher. “The girls changed their stories. They first said they lied about it.”

Dean, a Harlem High School graduate, served on the Harlem City Council and more than five years as the city’s mayor before being elected to the county commission in July 2008 to fill the seat vacated by Lee Anderson.

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.

He resigned from the position in February, when he was indicted on the child molestation charges.

Bill Morris replaced Dean as the District 4 Columbia County commissioner in a special election. He didn’t offer an opinion on the outcome of the trial.

“I’m just glad that it’s over,” Morris said. “It’s been a fast ordeal. I just want us to move forward.”

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Cynical old woman
1108
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Cynical old woman 12/15/11 - 07:20 pm
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Wonders....are you serious?a

Wonders....are you serious?a jury means nothing? Our justice system is what we have and while there are mistakes I believe in our system. I was not in the courtroom so I don't know all the evidence or testimony, but I as an American citizen support our judicial system and our government (granted it's not easy to support the present administration). If you don't like this country's system...like Lewis Grizzard said..Deltas ready when you are!

burninater
9627
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burninater 12/15/11 - 07:35 pm
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realitycheck, you forget that

realitycheck, you forget that the WV witnesses deny Dean's claim that the prior incident was consensual. Prior sexual assault AND testimony indicating that Dean had not been truthful concerning that prior assault would appear to be exceptionally relevant in a case based primarily on differing accounts of events. I was not there, but if I were a juror and found these now adult women credible, then I would have a difficult time believing that Dean had provided honest testimony otherwise. What do these two women have to gain by falsely testifying about a decades-old sexual assault?

Lee Benedict
1615
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Lee Benedict 12/15/11 - 07:29 pm
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OK, the twins claim it was

OK, the twins claim it was not consensual and Dean said it was. Since he was not convicted of anything stemming from that claim, or even charged with anything, as much as I want for a guilty party to be convicted, I have issues with the testimony being permitted. True, Dean took the stand and said it was consensual...BUT, did any of the jurors vote to convict based upon that claim? And again, I'd really like to know how the DA's Office learned of the WV witnesses.

wondersnevercease
9218
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wondersnevercease 12/15/11 - 07:31 pm
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Just like it was suggested on
Unpublished

Just like it was suggested on this forum...those on the jury more than likely read these posts and others...no way that they "obeyed " the judge....give me a break!

burninater
9627
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burninater 12/15/11 - 07:35 pm
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Lee, this is pure

Lee, this is pure speculation, but it is common for prior victims of an assault to come forward of their own volition when they see that a former perpetrator has been charged with a similar crime.

If this were the case in this, then I suppose the motivation I was wondering about in my last post could be a sense of postponed justice and/or doing whatever they felt was in their power to prevent there ever being another victim in the future.

wondersnevercease
9218
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wondersnevercease 12/15/11 - 07:42 pm
0
0
really?
Unpublished

really?

Willow Bailey
20601
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Willow Bailey 12/15/11 - 07:46 pm
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Let's be honest, most of

Let's be honest, most of the "Tyrones of Cherry Tree Crossing" shoot their adversaries in front of eight eye witnesses making it a little easier to come to an accurate conclusion.

Wasn't that easy here for those who wanted to be fair to him, regardless of how they felt about him or his reputation.

I don't know him, but I don't like his type or his known behaviors. Still doesn't make me want to see him convicted of something that he didn't do. I hope the jury got it right. And even if they did, I still have compassion for anyone, including the Tyrone's of the world when they make bad decisions that hurt others and destroy lives including their own.

The girls changing their testimony bothers me, but I think likely, he is guilty. I really respect the men and women who served on this jury.

wondersnevercease
9218
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wondersnevercease 12/15/11 - 07:47 pm
0
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I do not have a problem with
Unpublished

I do not have a problem with the girls...or their accusations....my problem is with those who believe the jury system works.............it does not.

wondersnevercease
9218
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wondersnevercease 12/15/11 - 07:55 pm
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Michael Jackson was
Unpublished

Michael Jackson was innocent..OJ was innocent...ask caylee................

Cynical old woman
1108
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Cynical old woman 12/15/11 - 07:59 pm
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OMG wonder....3 cases vs

OMG wonder....3 cases vs millions. Sure, there are errors made, however, I believe they are the exception not the norm.

wondersnevercease
9218
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wondersnevercease 12/15/11 - 08:06 pm
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such silly
Unpublished

such silly errors........................ ;/

Lee Benedict
1615
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Lee Benedict 12/15/11 - 08:06 pm
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jbartley, Valerie Rowell

jbartley, Valerie Rowell tweeted, twitted, whatever, "#ScottDean's adopted daughter Marlin lives with Sarah Harper Scott, who refused to help police talk to her & sent her money in Mexico." She posted other things regarding this witness.

You posted that you were present for the trial, or most of it, so I'll ask you this since the local media kept this hush-hush for reasons upon which we can speculate, did Scott really testify that she sent money and that the child was living with her? Did Scott catch an attitude with the judge? Valerie posted, "First defense witness in #scottdean trial - Sarah Harper Scott". Why would the defense put her on the stand knowing what she would say?

If all of that is indeed true, how much money?

Did Sarah Harper Scott, former Dean Campaign Manager and Columbia County Young Repubplcan Vice Chairman, mention a dollar amount? Where did the money come from?

If she sent money, and if Dean has a high-priced attorney, where did Scott Dean get all of that money?

Above all of that, why is a Staff Writer's Twitter page the only place we see this information? Her page does say that Donnie Fetter retweeted it, but still, nothing about this on this page. I heard nothing about it on the radio. If we recall the media's solicitation of votes for Dean, and its non-reporting of Sarah Harper Scott's testimony, and Ben Harbin testifying on Dean's behalf, we have to wonder what's really going on.

Willow Bailey
20601
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Willow Bailey 12/15/11 - 08:06 pm
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0
The justice system isn't

The justice system isn't perfect, but it is still the best example in this world. I would rather see a guilty person go free, than an innocent one incarcerated. OJ and the others will not escape God's justice, wnc.

wondersnevercease
9218
Points
wondersnevercease 12/15/11 - 08:16 pm
0
0
The idea that a person would
Unpublished

The idea that a person would follow a judges orders and not read or discuss a case is not realistic....the idea that a person would lie to get on a jury is very real...this system simply does not work...how in good conscience could a person say they had not read or heard of this case?..or other high profile cases...simply no way........

augusta citizen
9468
Points
augusta citizen 12/15/11 - 08:21 pm
0
0
Our justice system is not

Our justice system is not infallible, but it is what we have. I am glad for it and believe it is probably the best system, considering what happens in some countries. I, like Willow, would prefer that a guilty person go free, than an innocent one be punished. There is no perfect, foil-proof system.

wondersnevercease
9218
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wondersnevercease 12/15/11 - 08:23 pm
0
0
exactly...so is he innocent
Unpublished

exactly...so is he innocent or guilty?

augusta citizen
9468
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augusta citizen 12/15/11 - 08:25 pm
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A jury of 12 of his peers

A jury of 12 of his peers believed he was guilty, I myself, do not know, so I have no choice but to trust that they believe he was guilty.

wondersnevercease
9218
Points
wondersnevercease 12/15/11 - 08:26 pm
0
0
rather gullible ..don't you
Unpublished

rather gullible ..don't you think?

augusta citizen
9468
Points
augusta citizen 12/15/11 - 08:30 pm
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0
Rather realistic maybe? That

Rather realistic maybe? That is our system, I don't run the world, I don't profess to.

wondersnevercease
9218
Points
wondersnevercease 12/15/11 - 08:35 pm
0
0
Perhaps.....just think there
Unpublished

Perhaps.....just think there could be a better way.

my.voice
4860
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my.voice 12/15/11 - 08:36 pm
0
0
Will he serve time in a ga

Will he serve time in a ga state prison?

Willow Bailey
20601
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Willow Bailey 12/15/11 - 08:46 pm
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I would say yes, he will. It

I would say yes, he will. It will be interesting to see if the two counts will be sentenced to be served concurrently or consecutively. It is 5-20 years per count. I read that there is a hearing at 9:30 in the morning about this case.

Holdem
1
Points
Holdem 12/15/11 - 09:03 pm
0
0
While I've never been a fan

While I've never been a fan of Mr. Dean,I thought bringing the two girls from WV in was overkill.That was 28 years ago when he was 14 and they were 12................

KSL
131267
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KSL 12/15/11 - 09:23 pm
0
0
I guess posting on this

I guess posting on this thread will be today the place will my comment will be most like seen. I have no interest in posting a comment on this article or the outcome of the trial. None, what-so-ever. And it's sad I can find no other thread that I want to post on.

wittyno43
18
Points
wittyno43 12/15/11 - 09:48 pm
0
0
This is a tragic turnout for

This is a tragic turnout for Dean's children and family,but I do think justice has been properly served.

Here is why I think Dean was guilty. One accusation of sexual impropriety, I could give him the benefit of the doubt. Three people, the odds are against him.

The youngest girl-not the victim- testified on the stand that she saw Dean crawl into bed and kiss her sister in a inappropriate way.
The taped phone conversation from the oldest daughter and the Columbia County Sheriff's Office when she was in Mexico. The investigator was talking about the safety of the other children. Marlin is asked if Scott ever had sex with her and she replies, "He tried."

The two 39-year-old twin sisters from West Virginia claim they were forced to fondle him. One was groped. One twin reported Dean ejaculated on her face while she was sleeping. That does not sound like mutual show and tell.

The actual victim has been pretty consistant with her testimony to officials.

We know Dean had an inappropriate relationship with a county worker, and to me that sounds like if he would abuse his position as commissioner, he wouldn't be above doing something else inappropriate. The odds were stacked against him.

And finally, as a retired police detective, I've gotten pretty darn good at reading body language. Just the few video clips I've found online of the trial, watching Dean closely told me that boy is not being honest.

I've also been privvy to some information that wasn't presented at the trial. Considering it all, I feel confident saying the jury made the right decision.

devgru1
0
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devgru1 12/16/11 - 10:58 am
0
0
realitycheck09, I agree...

realitycheck09, I agree...

wittyno43
18
Points
wittyno43 12/15/11 - 09:53 pm
0
0
I wonder what will happen to

I wonder what will happen to the children. Will they stay in foster care?

happychimer
17992
Points
happychimer 12/15/11 - 09:53 pm
0
0
Dean will be sentence a

Dean will be sentence a number of years in prison. He could get 20 yrs. on each count, which equals 40 yrs. His victims got a life sentence.I hope they get counseling and that it helps those girls.

InChristLove
22480
Points
InChristLove 12/15/11 - 10:04 pm
0
0
happychimer, I believe the

happychimer, I believe the girls already had a life sentence from the abusive home they came from before the Dean's adopted them out of an orphanage. If Dean is truely guilty of what he has been judge on today, then it only adds to their already disfunctional lives. From a comment the victim made, she indicated her biological father had abused her. I believe the victim is already in counselling and I hope that will continue. As for the other children, if Dean is sentence to prison then I would assume that the children could remain with Mrs. Dean, since Mr. Dean would not be there, but I don't believe the victim would want to go back to the household. That was one of the issues in the first place, she didn't get along with her adopted mother so why would she even want to go back to the home.

mrducks
59
Points
mrducks 12/15/11 - 10:07 pm
0
0
Wonder, you complain about
Unpublished

Wonder, you complain about the system, but offer no suggestions/solutions. It undermines your credibility.

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