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
  • Follow Crime & courts

A Columbia County jury on Thursday found former Columbia County commissioner Scott Dean guilty of molesting his adopted teen daughter.

Back | Next
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.”

Comments (93) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Lee Benedict
1651
Points
Lee Benedict 12/17/11 - 11:15 am
0
0
How can anyone call Mike a

How can anyone call Mike a fair weather friend? He stayed with the candidate through the election, EVEN after the sexting was made public. Now what he knew and when he knew it and whether he would have stayed on if he knew and the information did not gone public aside, he stayed with him at expense of future political capital and scorn. Me, personally, I can remain friends (in public and in private) with someone who is DUI/DWI, who has been compromised in a shady business transaction...S/he would receive a private ey double ess chewing, and if Austin and/or Barry were to ask me for the record, I would express displeasure and say that I have told the friend as much and in colorful terms, and, if the friend's reasoning and explanation made sense, I'm standing by him/her. But if it happens again, I don't wanna hear it. With child molestation, however, no way now how am I sticking around. When I say child molestation, I am not referring to, Lee, buddy, she (or he) said she's (or he's) 23. I guessed 25-30 when we met. If I knew she (or he) was 17, I would have run and never looked back, but the stuff Scott Dean was accused of. Perhaps Dean told Sleeper that the allegations are completely false. I have no idea and it's really none of my business. But the fact is that Dean was caught in the sexting stuff, and Sleeper stayed with him through the election. If I were on the school board, and if I were Campaign Manager for a candidate, and if similar information came out, I would come out and tell him/her, "Dude, you know I can't stay on, right?"

Riverman1
93229
Points
Riverman1 12/17/11 - 11:33 am
0
0
Lee, I don't know if I agree

Lee, I don't know if I agree with all that. No one has been harder on Sleeper-Cross about the way the Dean problems were handled than I have. When those in the press and other media said there was nothing that could be done about Dean being reelected and serving on the Commission, it was I who said more than once that he could be run off in various ways, some of them very humorous. Finally, the other commissioners and others started to get the idea.

But back to Sleeper. After the textgate came out and Scott Hudson's excellent reports of just how bad it was, all Sleeper did was present a motion at the BOE meeting that his own text messages couldn't be examined. So that threw up a lot of redflags. Cross was still joking about Dean trying to defuse everything.

However, it all comes down to this. Sleeper didn't support Dean at the trial. He cut ties with him. Harbin was a character witness while Sleeper refused and wouldn't even talk to THEM far as I know. He deserves accolades for that and he can't be TOO afraid of what Dean says. Sleeper really came out ahead and his respect grew with me during these last events unless Dean throws out some garbage.

Lee Benedict
1651
Points
Lee Benedict 12/18/11 - 06:11 pm
0
0
Austin, IMHO, David Payne is

Austin, IMHO, David Payne is good people, hard working people, with the best interest of the people at heart. I will give you that he is not your spit-and-polished politician, and that's fine. Many want and welcome an honest straight-shooter. My opinion is that at David Payne would never do anything to bring dishonor to him, his supporters, or the office held. Scott Dean on the other hand, my view on him is well established.

Bill Morris, I don't know him, but Charles Nagle vouched for him, and that's good enough for me. My first exposure to Bill was at a forum in Grovetown. Trey Allen and Mike Sleeper sat directly in front of his position and were texting and iPadding away, and Bill was constantly looking at his phone. I and others commented to each other that it was sad to see. That aside, I really do not know Bill's voting record, nor am I familiar with many of his public statements, so I have no idea as to how well he is or is not doing in his position.

David Payne is a good man (and I'm fairly certain that Bill and Vernon are too) and he did not in any way deserve being treated as he was treated in July 2010.

Riverman1
93229
Points
Riverman1 12/17/11 - 11:40 am
0
0
I believe Judge Blanchard

I believe Judge Blanchard will make a statement about his own views when he sentences Dean. Local officials from the Sheriff's Office, DFAC'S, DA's office, press and other politicians had access to all the Dean info off the record and were firmly against him, so there really wasn't much doubt about his guilt with them. Blanchard knows this is statement making time.

Austin Rhodes
2970
Points
Austin Rhodes 12/17/11 - 11:50 am
0
0
RM...AW was called as a last

RM...AW was called as a last second rebuttal witness to testimony from Marlin Dean...there was no way to know that was going to happen, it materialized as the trial unfolded. All of this was covered yesterday...sorry you missed it...

Riverman1
93229
Points
Riverman1 12/17/11 - 11:51 am
0
0
Austin, I know that, but it

Austin, I know that, but it was a surprise.

Lee Benedict
1651
Points
Lee Benedict 12/17/11 - 11:52 am
0
0
RM, I remember the Sleeper

RM, I remember the Sleeper cell phone thing. If I recall, he asked for clarification as to whether or not a school board member's cell phone records can be made public. Did he have something to hide? Don't know. But the request for clarification was wise in that teachers, administrators, and board members communicate with parents of students and other people. It would be very, VERY, easy for someone to read into one's phone records and then make allegations that would stick in the court of public opinion but not in the court of the educational profession.

Is it wise for a teacher to use his/her personal cell phone to call parents? Sure. In your classroom during your planning period, call a parent or two. I like doing it because I have access 24/7/365.25 to my call logs, and if ever a parent were to complain about grades and/or behavior and/or whatever, I can access my phone records and give dates, times, and durations of calls made to the child's parents'/guardinas' number that THEY gave to the school. Plus, going to the lounge or office raises confidentiality issues and all other inconveniences.

School board members have/usually have careers/jobs aside from the board. They have to deal with parents, principals, vendors, commissioners, and countless others. Cell phones make sense. That being said, does Mike Sleeper have reasons for not wanting his records made public? Don't know. None of my business unless I'm paying for it.

I find no fault with a person cutting ties with Scott Dean or his supporters, who, by the way, ain't all there. I posted about being threatened by the Dean camp and I have told others about the details "just in case".

There is much more to this whole distorted mess, and Dean knows it and others know it as well, and trust me, they are nervous. Scott Dean DOES NOT want to spend a second in Reidsville and will probably talk his way to a better, safer, facility.

Riverman1
93229
Points
Riverman1 12/17/11 - 11:52 am
0
0
Austin, I also heard you say

Austin, I also heard you say there was going to be a surprise and the fact about the WV twins was ALREADY OUT. So you weren't talking about that. Later, you claimed THAT was the big surprise you were talking about. Sorry, but I do pay attention.

Riverman1
93229
Points
Riverman1 12/17/11 - 12:13 pm
0
0
Lee said, "There is much more

Lee said, "There is much more to this whole distorted mess, and Dean knows it and others know it as well, and trust me, they are nervous. Scott Dean DOES NOT want to spend a second in Reidsville and will probably talk his way to a better, safer, facility."

I have known things about Dean and others, not illegal things, but career ruining things, for a long time. I can't come out and say them because they would be personal attacks, etc. Plus, I'm not sure it's really necessary to bring them up. We are all human.

Now whether Dean sings is a different story. I don't think he will because it will be better for him to keep friends who can possibly help him later. No one can do anything for him NOW. Appeals go on for a couple of years while the person is in prison.

Austin Rhodes
2970
Points
Austin Rhodes 12/17/11 - 12:19 pm
0
0
RM...I have no idea what you

RM...I have no idea what you heard when...but when I called AW months ago to ask her about the "similar transaction" testimony, she asked me to keep it private until the trial. I did. That was the only "surprise" I knew about.

There was no way anyone could have known she was going to be called in, because she would not have been if Marlin Dean did not say what she did on the stand. (she claimed AW called her a liar, which AW was then called to rebut).

The way you can tell that it was not planned is because it is a nightmare for the defense atty's star witness to basically be described by a sitting, popular District Attorney (and fellow female) under oath, as an unreliable witness. This was a huge bit of luck for the prosecution.

Riverman1
93229
Points
Riverman1 12/17/11 - 12:25 pm
0
0
Austin, absolutely that was

Austin, absolutely that was the biggest thing to happen in the trial. No big deal about the "surprise" thing and what you said. We are on the same page here.

freeradical
1170
Points
freeradical 12/17/11 - 12:35 pm
0
0
The judge will dutifully calm

The judge will dutifully calm and reassure Dean at sentencing.

He is after all one of them.

You will see the relief on Dean's face as talk of what kind of future

awaited these girls if not for the generosity and kindness of Dean's

better side.

With heaping syrupy helpings of the public "good" done thrown in and

all topped with a cherry

We are not up to our collective armpits in child molestors walking the

streets without plenty of help from the professional , political , powerful

who have a documented fondness and delight for this sort of

debauchery .

Doing their level best to cover and assuage on behalf of their

professional brethren is something they have become quite practiced

at.

The lowering of the age of consent will not happen in the near future

because the bricklayer , farmer , carpenter, etc,etc,, wants it lowered.

It will be lowered because the powerful , rich , and influential can no

longer tolerate seeing those who share the same delights as

themselves being dragged into court and complicating things for them.

It simply cannot go on.

Lee Benedict
1651
Points
Lee Benedict 12/17/11 - 01:10 pm
0
0
free, I seriously doubt that

free, I seriously doubt that the judge will pump sunshine into Dean's tank...at least not in Columbia County. If a judge does that, then the prosecution will, or SHOULD, provide the court with no fewer than six clear-cut examples of American families adopting children from foreign countries who have lived in squalor and experienced abuse, and then abusing and molesting them, only to claim, they still have it better here. I may even send a dozen examples to Ashley Wright just to be certain that the information is readily available. In the wake of the DA's Office l'il oopsie about not having the arresting officer appear in court for a DUI case, I suspect that the prosecution will throw all but the kitchen sink at Dean during sentencing.

Cynical old woman
1111
Points
Cynical old woman 12/17/11 - 02:01 pm
0
0
Little change of subject

Little change of subject here...money. The restaurant/inn that the Deans have an interest in and the photography business must be prospering! How in the world did "they" come up with the monies to support the family, send money to Mexico, pay Theodocian, etc?????

Riverman1
93229
Points
Riverman1 12/17/11 - 09:17 pm
0
0
Serious question. What

Serious question. What happens to left over campaign contributions when the candidate goes to prison?

stevejuju007
0
Points
stevejuju007 12/18/11 - 02:50 pm
0
0
We are all a "scott dean"; we

We are all a "scott dean"; we all have skeletons in our closet that would embarrass us, our families, and our community. Due to high profile of himself and a insatiable media appetitite - he has been in the spot light unduly. Many of these cases are handled each month and we never hear about it unless it affects us personally. The justice system has its injustices as any "corporation" does. Pray for all those involved in this case. I personally hope he doesn't see more than 5 years total.

seenitB4
96821
Points
seenitB4 12/18/11 - 04:02 pm
0
0
river....the money won't go

river....the money won't go to you that's for sure......

and stevejuju.....I might have a skeleton hanging around BUT I have never wanted to have sex with a kid/child/teen....so we are not all deans

Back to Top

Top headlines

Sickness closes all McDuffie County schools

One day after closing an elementary because of excessive absences caused by an outbreak of influenza, strep infection and stomach viruses, the McDuffie County School System has decided to enact an ...
Search Augusta jobs