Scott Dean’s 19-year-old adopted daughter declared Friday during a court hearing that her allegations of child molestation against him were false.
“It was a lie,” Silda Dean said from the stand. “I feel sad. Sometimes I feel bad, too, because he’s innocent.”
The former Columbia County commissioner was accused in October 2010 of inappropriately touching Silda Dean. She said he climbed into her bed and inappropriately touched her on one occasion and exposed himself and propositioned her on another.
He was indicted on two counts of child molestation and convicted in December 2011 and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He’s currently being held in Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, Ga.
On Friday, he was in Evans, petitioning for a new trial.
Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. agreed to take the request under consideration. He’s expected to make a decision as early as a few weeks.
Silda Dean, who was removed from the Dean home and moved into a foster home in late 2010, said she made the allegations because she didn’t like Dean’s wife, Renee. The Deans adopted Silda and her four siblings from Guatemala in September 2008.
Silda Dean told a state Department of Family and Children Services social worker in July 2012 that the allegations were a lie. That social worker testified Friday that she told her supervisor and the issue was discussed with local and state DFCS legal counsels. Nothing was ever done with the information.
“The fact that this information would just be held down is astounding,” Scott Dean’s attorney, Pete Theodocion said.
In January, Silda Dean told Renee Dean that she had made up the allegations. Then she wrote a letter to her adoptive mother and to Theodocion in February, explaining that her previous testimony was a lie and that Dean was not guilty of the charges.
“It was hard for me to say something that wasn’t true,” Silda Dean testified. “I got confused and I didn’t know what to do.”
Blanchard denied a motion for a new trial June 2012 and the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld that decision in May.
“We know it is not easy to come in and get a new trial after the fact,” Theodocion said. “This was not a fair trial. ... It is very rare that we have the opportunity to right a wrong like this.
“A jury has the right to know. A jury has the right to know the full story.”
Theodocion said the request for a new trial meets the six requirements to have one granted based on new evidence.
Assistant District Attorney Madonna Little argued and cited case law that a victim’s recantation is not cause for a new trial. And any new evidence coming forward cannot be to impeach a witness post-trial.
Dean’s wife said she’s not happy with the result of the hearing, but that she’s proud of her daughter who “held her head high and told the truth.”
“Of course, we’re disappointed it wasn’t an immediate exoneration,” Renee Dean said. “But it’s hopeful.”