More than a year after former Columbia County Commissioner Scott Dean’s daughter testified that he molested her, she wrote a letter to his wife recanting her story.
Dean was convicted of two counts of child molestation in December 2011. He is serving his 20-year prison sentence at Georgia State Prison in Reidsville.
He was accused of exposing himself to and inappropriately touching his teenage daughter, then 15. She is one of five children Dean and his wife, Renee, adopted from Guatemala in 2008. The girl claimed Dean entered her room at night and touched her. He denied the charges when he testified at the trial.
Renee Dean said she received a letter in mid-February from the now 18-year-old girl, who was living in foster care, recanting the allegations she made against her husband. A copy of the letter also was sent to Dean’s attorney, Pete Theodocion.
“It says that he is completely innocent and that he never touched her,” Renee Dean said. “She’s very specific about everything and recants everything.”
The girl has since moved back into the Dean home.
Renee Dean and Theodocion did not provide a copy of the letter, and District Attorney Ashley Wright said Wednesday that she had not been made aware of such a letter or any recantations.
Theodocion, who said he has confirmed with the girl that she wrote the letter, argued at Dean’s trial and at a hearing last June for a new trial, saying the allegations against his client were fabricated.
Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. didn’t allow testimony that the girl previously lied by telling a Guatemalan judge that her biological father killed her brother. The oldest of the adopted children, Marlin Dean, testified that the false testimony was an attempt to get the children out of an abusive home and into an orphanage.
At the June hearing in June, a prosecutor said the testimony wasn’t allowed because it didn’t involve a sex crime and the law allows attorneys to present only testimony of false accusations in a similar crime.
Theodocion’s appeal for a retrial to the Court of Appeals of Georgia has not yet been decided. State Appeals Court Clerk Holly Sparrow said that Dean’s case is currently before the court and that she expects a judgment to be handed down before the end of July.
Theodocion said he plans to ask the appeals court to remand Dean’s case back to the trial court, where he will file an “extraordinary motion” for a new trial late this week or early next week. That motion is one typically filed when new evidence is presented after a conviction.
“This evidence is worth a new trial so a new jury can hear the current story,” Theodocion said.
Renee Dean said her husband is excited about the girl’s recantation and is ready for a new trial, if it is granted.
“Then it’s a slam dunk,” she said. “No victim, no crime.”