FELONY CHILD MOLESTATION (DCAC) NOT CHARGED – State v. Mr. V (DMC No. 14930) (Coconino County Sheriff’s Office DR No. S15-00835): At the time of these allegations Mr. V was a 40-year old male who was married with 5 children. Mr. V and his wife and children lived in Coconino County, Arizona. Mr. V’s in-laws lived in a guest house on their property. They were all part of a somewhat large extended family that included the parents of Mr. V’s wife, as well as, her brother and his family. The families would visit frequently, primarily at the Mr. V’s House in Coconino County. One such occasion was February 8, 2015 when the families were together at Mr. V’s residence. This get-together included Mr. V and his family, Mr. V’s brother, his wife and their two children, and Mrs. V’s parents: Judy and James F. One of Mrs. V’s brother’s children included a three year old son.
At one point, shortly before the F’s were loading up their car to return to Phoenix, it became apparent that Mr. V’s 3-year-old nephew needed to use the restroom. Mr. V mentioned this to the boys’ mother, who indicated to him that he should take the child to the bathroom. The child was Mr. V’s 3-year-old nephew and had come to stay with them on various occasions in the past, so he did not think anything of it. Mr. V took the child to a restroom that was immediately off the area where all the families were meeting and had the child use the restroom. Mr. V walked in the restroom with the child watched the child as he prepared to the restroom and then stood outside of the restroom with the door open. While Mr. V was standing outside he was conversing with others, including his wife. The child finished using the restroom and went to his father.
At some point in his conversation with his father, the little boy indicated that Mr. V had poked him and that the poke had happened below his waist. Mr. F pulled Mr. V aside and asked him if he had ever poked the boy. Mr. V denied the allegation. Not being satisfied with that answer, Mr. F then went to his mother and asked if she had observed anything. The mother indicated to Mr. F that she did not see anything that evening but in the past had been uncomfortable with Mr. V being around the 3-year-old boy. She did not have any specific facts but just indicated that she had felt uncomfortable with Mr. V being around the three year old boy. The F family then left to return to Phoenix.
While enroute, Mr. F discussed the issue with his wife who told him that she wanted to return to the V house immediately to discuss the issue further. They returned to the Mr. V’s House and had a large family meeting. During that family meeting, Mr. V adamantly denied any inappropriate behavior with regards to the nephew. This large family meeting brought out a number of issues that had been lying beneath the surface. This included the Mr. and Mrs. V’s unhappiness with the F’s behavior around them, particularly the unruly behavior of the child. The conversation rapidly devolved until the F family left. The F family returned to the Phoenix area where they stewed on the issue for a number of days prior to contacting a friend who was a police officer. A friend indicated they would need to make a report to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Department regarding allegations of Child Molestation, a Dangerous Crime Against Children, per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-1410.
Given the family dynamic, Mr. and Mrs. V became aware that the allegations had morphed into a report to the police. They immediately came and retained our office. Our Pre-Charge team devoted substantial time to this case in a very quick fashion. We conducted in-depth interviews of both Mr. and Mrs. V to ascertain the specific facts of the case. We then immediately advised the County Attorney’s Office in both Maricopa and Coconino Counties, that our firm was representing Mr. V, and that if any charges were submitted to a grand jury, that Mr. V wanted to appear and testify. We also began reaching out aggressively to law enforcement agencies in the Phoenix Valley and in Coconino County.
Next, we immediately drafted proposed polygraph questions for a polygraph examination for Mr. V. Mr. V immediately submitted to a voluntary polygraph on whether he had ever touched his 3-year-old nephew for a sexual purpose. Mr. V’s polygraph indicated that he was being truthful when he stated that he had never touched his nephew for sexual purpose. During the pendency of that polygraph, we were able to confirm that the lead agency was the Coconino County Sheriff’s Department. We then immediately provided the polygraph information in a letter to the Detective. In that letter to the Detective, we also provided specific exculpatory information that we wished to present to the grand jury should the case proceed to that point.
After that, we continued to conduct further investigation of the case. We obtained an extensive timeline of the contacts between the V family and the F family over the prior few years. We also assisted in drafting and obtaining executed Affidavits from, the grandparents of the 3-year-old alleged victim. These Affidavits established that the they had never witnessed any inappropriate behavior between Mr. V and his 3-year-old nephew. We subsequently, provided all of that information to the Detective and we followed that up with a letter to the Coconino County Attorney’s Office in which we detailed the exculpatory information that should be provided to the grand jury should they wish to proceed to one. All of this was done over the course of just over 2 weeks. It required significant, and immediate work by our Pre-Charge team. As a result of that work, less than one month after being retained on the case, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office closed the case “due to lack of probable cause for charging.” The case disposition was listed as case closed, leads exhausted.