Recently, Jackson County Circuit Judge John McBain set aside the guilty verdict given to 50-year-old Gregory Patterson by the jury in a sexual assault case, a first in the Judge’s 13 years on the bench. McBain found the defendant not guilty, a decision that leaves Patterson free, rather than facing a minimum of 25 years in prison for three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct according to a news report at Mlive.com.
Patterson went on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting his former girlfriend’s daughter on multiple occasions in 2012, when she under 13 years of age. The girl, who is now 15, testified regarding the sexual assault, however she admitted that she did not like Patterson, and was also not consistent when testifying about how many times she was allegedly assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend.
During the trial, several references were made to the fact that the alleged victim wanted to see he mother and father back together, even though she did not know her father. Patterson’s defense attorney claimed that the girl had admitted to a history of falsehoods in the past in an effort to remove her mother’s boyfriends from their lives.
The defense attorney went on to inform the judge that there was no semen, blood, or other physical evidence in the girl’s underwear to support her allegations of a “violent” rape. The girl also admitted that she frequently watched television in the bed shared by her mother and Patterson, which her attorney said could easily account for the “microscopic” amount of semen found on the outside of the girl’s clothing.
McBain said that the verdict handed down by the jury surprised him, and that there were major problems with the prosecutor’s case including a lack of physical evidence and witness credibility. The Judge said that he would absolutely have found Patterson not guilty had the case been tried as a bench trial. On Friday, May 1, McBain told reporters that he believed the “worst thing a judge could ever face is the prospect you sent an innocent man to prison, especially on charges like this.”
Patterson’s defense attorney called McBain’s decision “an extraordinary decision and extraordinary relief.” He also said that he had not filed a motion similar to this one in his 20 years as a criminal defense attorney.
It is all too easy for innocent individuals to be accused of sexual assault, rape, or other sex crimes; unfortunately, it is also not uncommon for innocent people to be found guilty and put behind bars.