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Former 4-H employee acquitted of child molestation

Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 4:53 PM
Last updated Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 12:31 PM
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A Columbia County jury acquitted a former 4-H employee accused of sexually molesting a 15-year-old girl.

Jennifer Davenport  Special
Special
Jennifer Davenport


The jury returned a not guilty verdict Wednesday for Jennifer Gayle Davenport, 27, of Augusta. She was charged with aggravated sexual battery and aggravated child molestation.

“She has been around thousands of young women and young men,” Davenport’s attorney, Lynn Akeley-Alderman, said in her closing arguments of the longtime 4-H volunteer and former program assistant in Columbia County. “Thousands of children. Who else have we got here besides (the girl) saying this happened? No one.”

Davenport, who hugged family and friends in the hallway outside the courtroom after the verdict was announced, was accused of sexual conduct with the teen inside the girl’s Martinez home in three separate occasions in February.

The jury had little evidence to consider in the case including the girl’s testimony, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office investigator and several witnesses who testified on behalf of Davenport. Some of those witnesses also said they knew and wouldn’t believe the girl. There was no evidence to corroborate the story of the teen, who testified late Monday and early Tuesday.

Akeley-Alderman said in her opening statement Monday that the girl made up the allegations.

Assistant District Attorney Titus Nichols said that he knows children lie and teen girls can be fickle. But he questioned why the teen would lie and have to explain the details of the sexual acts to her mother and make it all public in the court process.

“Knowing the absolute hell they have to go through when they do (come forward with such allegations), why would they ever tell the truth,” Nichols asked in his closing arguments.

Despite the verdict, the stigma of such allegations will likely remain with Davenport.

“Regardless of this jury’s verdict,” Akeley-Alderman said in her closing, “this is going to stick with her the rest of her life.”

Comments (18)

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Dixieman
10350
Points
Dixieman 10/02/13 - 07:43 pm
8
1

WHY

1. Is the accuser not being named? I understand the policy while the case is pending, but now that there is an acquittal she should be named -- the not guilty defendant is still being named and shamed!
2. When will accuser be charge with perjury?

scoopdedoop64
2235
Points
scoopdedoop64 10/02/13 - 08:59 pm
6
0

@Dixieman

I agree. This woman will have to deal with people always knowing she was charged even though acquitted. The accuser should be named now. Also, why would the girl lie? I will tell you. There are a lot people out there hungry for attention. so hungry for attention they will do whatever it takes to get it, even it means sending someone to jail. I read an article about a man who served 10 years for sexual assault. When he got out on probation the girl who accused him called him and wanted to see him. He carried a recorder and she admitted to making the whole thing up and was wanting him to come back to her. It's a sick world out there and people do awful things.

bright idea
468
Points
bright idea 10/02/13 - 09:36 pm
4
0

Call me cynical

but I agree with Dixieman. Trust no one.

JRC2024
6955
Points
JRC2024 10/02/13 - 09:55 pm
4
0

Maybe Ms. Davenport will tell

Maybe Ms. Davenport will tell who the girl is or type her name on a piece of paper and leave it for the press to find. She should have to live with the same allbertros around her neck. I have never thought it was fair to hide the accuser in any case if the defendent is found not guilty no matter what the age.

Ccreekfam5
26
Points
Ccreekfam5 10/02/13 - 10:28 pm
6
0

Not Guilty

There could have been hundreds of character witnesses because Jennifer has touched hundreds if not thousands of lives. This is simply a case of a girl desperately wanting attention whose family wasn't giving it to her and basically ignored her through their own problems. She was lashing out when she assumed that any secrets she had told Jennifer had been shared. The defense attorney hit the nail on the head in closing arguments when she speculated as to motive on the mothers part, financial. Prayers are needed for everyone involved as Jennifer tries to put the pieces of her life back together and this EHS girl has to live with her deceit and possibly the repercussions to follow.

Dixieman
10350
Points
Dixieman 10/03/13 - 06:32 am
3
0

To JRC 2024

The press already knows her name -- they just choose not to publish it.

soapy_725
43306
Points
soapy_725 10/03/13 - 06:38 am
1
0

Thank you intelligent jury. Facts presented in the courtroom.

Unpublished

We are all winner in this verdict.

JRC2024
6955
Points
JRC2024 10/03/13 - 06:58 am
3
0

Too bad they choose not to.

Too bad they choose not to. Then they should have chossen not to publish the name of the defendant. VERY BAD on the press part to help ruin the life of the defendent but not the accuser when the defendant is found not guilty.

JRC2024
6955
Points
JRC2024 10/03/13 - 06:59 am
3
0

IF I were Ms. Davenport I

IF I were Ms. Davenport I would tell everyone I know the girls name so it would get out.

David Parker
7919
Points
David Parker 10/03/13 - 09:07 am
0
2

No good deed goes unpunished.

One factor in potential perjury trial is whether it is provable. Just as the allegations of sexual molestation were not proven, it will be just as difficult to prove otherwise.

raul
3355
Points
raul 10/03/13 - 09:24 am
1
0

This was a weak case going in

This was a weak case going in and the D.A. probably knew it. Wonder why they chose to charge her? Any thoughts, Dixieman?

Ccreekfam5
26
Points
Ccreekfam5 10/03/13 - 09:29 am
1
0

well said David Parker

This is the true sadness of the story. Jennifer will never be hired back by the one institution she has loved since she was a child, 4H. There are so many kids that have lost out and will never get to experience her passion for this organization. 4H builds leadership and is the one place that kids can go where there isn't criticism of what they are wearing or who their parent's are. My children found themselves at 4H and thrive in the community for it. They all volunteer in many organizations because that is what is instilled in them through 4H. They have learned to be leaders and confident in who they are. This is what this girl failed to see or understand. It was all about jealousy and attention to herself. It's really sad.

getitright84
289
Points
getitright84 10/03/13 - 12:58 pm
2
0

Reading this I feel there is

Reading this I feel there is hope for the world after all. It gives pause for the countless number of individuals that are genuinely innocent and wrongfully accused of such a crime by spoiled, non-disciplined, vengeful kids. Sadly, these days they are taught by the parents. Congrats to Ms. Davenport!

Cameron Poe
622
Points
Cameron Poe 10/03/13 - 02:43 pm
5
0

Wow, look how fast that

Wow, look how fast that picture changes when a person is acquitted!

csralookout
144
Points
csralookout 10/03/13 - 03:23 pm
2
0

Yeah, why the picture change

Yeah, why the picture change after she is found not-guilty?

whyme
1089
Points
whyme 10/03/13 - 03:41 pm
1
3

Very Hypocritical

Where were all of you that are now showing sympathy and support for Miss Davenport before she went to trial? I wonder if I looked back at the posts when she was first accused and see this same sympathy. I doubt it. She was considered guilty until proven innocent and not the other way around. And the comments were disgusting, even if she was actually found guilty, because they could be posted "anonymously". Even worse, the reputation of 4H, an outstanding organization, was besmirched, thanks mostly to the remarks against it as well. We will never know the true story as to why this young lady followed through on the allegations, why the charges were actually applied, and whether the jury believed Miss Davenport or just didn't have evidence to charge her. It doesn't matter. It is done and done. Case dismissed.

willie Lee
360
Points
willie Lee 10/03/13 - 06:30 pm
1
1

Truth

Unpublished

To Dixieman and others who wonder why no perjury charges will be brought? Because that is the way the system works. The cops make the decision on who will or will not be charged and the DA presses the case. Once the decision is made, the cops will lie, cheat, steal or do anything else to help win the conviction. The DA sits by and watches it happen knowing that the truth is not being sought, only the percentage of convictions that will pad her resume for the next election. Did the alleged victim lie? Of course she did, but her story never really changed so if perjury charges are brought, then you have to charge the DA also since they knew the story was fabricated. It is called “suborning perjury” and the DA’s office does it every day.

Dixieman
10350
Points
Dixieman 10/03/13 - 09:07 pm
2
0

Sometimes...

...as a prosecutor you think a case is strong but it falls apart at trial. This is not an exact science, but an art, and no one wins 100% of his or her cases. So I do not fault the prosecutor. I do think at the very least the name of the complaining witness should now be published in newspaper articles. Yes, families and friends of hers and the defendant's know who is who, but the rest of the community does not and is entitled to know. Press has a policy of not naming victims of sexual assaults before and during trial. Fine. But AFTER AN ACQUITTAL the reasons underlying that policy vanish. What say you, Sean Moores?
I do realize this is a close call -- good arguments on both sides -- and that "not guilty" does not mean "innocent," just "not proven beyond a reasonable doubt". Still....

Ccreekfam5
26
Points
Ccreekfam5 10/04/13 - 05:19 pm
0
0

NEWS

Please tune in to WRDW channel 12 @ 6pm tonight for an exclusive interview with Jennifer and hear her own story.

Ccreekfam5
26
Points
Ccreekfam5 10/04/13 - 05:22 pm
0
0

Picture change

The picture was changed after rightful outrage to her "jail photo" being displayed. A new picture was sent and Augusta Chronicle graciously posted it. To leave that old picture up was as stating something negative.

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