NEWPORT NEWS — A jury on Thursday acquitted a former Newport Information police officer on all counts in a sexual assault case, and located a daycare supplier not responsible on two of essentially the most critical fees she confronted.
About 20 relations of officer Robert Jones and daycare supplier Kristi Lynn Cline cried tears of reduction and pleasure because the verdicts have been learn by a clerk earlier than Circuit Court docket Decide William Shaw.
Members of the family, Jones and Cline embraced and hugged one another and their attorneys within the Newport Information Circuit Court docket hallway instantly after the choice.
The 12-member jury started deliberations Wednesday afternoon and continued most of Thursday earlier than reaching a verdict on nearly all of pending fees.
The costs stemmed from accusations made by a 25-year-old lady, whom Cline cared for as a toddler.
She accused Cline and Jones of sexually assaulting her greater than 100 instances over a 12 months and a half. The accuser stated the incidents passed off between early 2009 and mid-2010, starting when she was 12 and ending when she was 14.
She stated she started to grasp what occurred after having a daughter in 2016 and realizing the seriousness of sexual assault on a toddler.
Jones and Cline have been arrested and charged in 2019 after the lady made formal allegations in late 2018.
Jurors discovered Jones not responsible of the entire felony sexual assault fees in opposition to him — forcible sodomy, two counts of rape and 5 counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor.
They discovered Cline not responsible of two counts of aggravated sexual battery. However they might not attain an settlement on six different fees in opposition to Cline — two counts of object sexual penetration, carnal data and three counts of indecent liberties.
Jury members indicated widespread settlement on these fees as effectively, however that there was at the very least one holdout amongst them.
Deputy Commonwealth’s Legal professional Stephanie Move, the Chesapeake prosecutor introduced in to listen to the case, stated she must weigh whether or not to carry Cline again for a brand new trial on the six fees on which the jurors couldn’t agree. She stated she would focus on the matter with the accuser.
The Virginian-Pilot and Each day Press typically don’t establish accusers in sexual assault instances with out their permission.
Jones started with the Newport Information Police in 2007 and was terminated in Might 2020 after the fees have been filed. Cline ran a house day care on Springwell Place for 11 years, the place she cared for the accuser as a toddler.
Jones, 50, and Cline, 46, stated the assaults by no means passed off, with their attorneys asserting that the accuser is mentally ailing, delusional or just fabricating the fees. Testifying throughout the three-day trial, Jones stated he met or spoke with the accuser 12 to fifteen instances between 2008 and 2010, however that no sexual exercise ever passed off.
Jones’ lawyer, Timothy Clancy, and Cline’s lawyer, Ron Smith, stated across the time that the lady was first speaking in regards to the allegations, she was involuntarily dedicated 4 instances for psychological well being remedy. She was handled for things like bipolar dysfunction, persona dysfunction and hallucinations, they stated. On the time, she wasn’t taking a number of the drugs her physician prescribed.
When she first started telling others in regards to the alleged assault, courtroom testimony revealed she claimed that a number of different males had raped her, too. She has since backed off a lot of the allegations, saying at the very least one was a “cowl story” to elucidate that she had been raped with out saying who did it.
However protection attorneys contended the opposite rape allegations — which took place after postpartem despair and a psychological well being break in late 2016 — made the accuser not credible.
“It is a scary case,” Smith stated throughout closing arguments, saying the prosecution was asking jurors to disregard all the opposite false allegations. “They’re falsely accused of this crime.”
To search out them responsible, jurors must take the phrase of the accuser, Clancy stated. However her story can’t be trusted, he stated. “It isn’t worthy of perception.”
Move stated throughout her closing argument that the accuser doesn’t have any present psychological well being points and that she by no means backed off the allegations in opposition to Jones and Cline. She stated the lady now has an actual property license, has sole custody of her little one and has “taken management of her life.”
“She’s a survivor,” Move stated throughout her closing arguments.
Move contended that Cline and Jones — who met via their sons’ soccer groups — have been having an extramarital relationship and that they included the woman of their sexual exercise in Cline’s bed room. The accuser testified that she took to Cline and noticed her as a “cool” various to her “strict and plain” mom.
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Through the trial, the lady testified to offer particulars in regards to the alleged assaults. She stated Jones would come by Cline’s dwelling in police uniform whereas Cline watched her and different kids.
She stated the three would go upstairs to Cline’s bed room the place the assaults passed off. She described two of Jones’ tattoos, beneath his stomach button and on his shoulder, and a intercourse toy that she stated Cline used on her. She recalled that when Jones obtained a name on his radio, he typically shortly had have to go away, or typically would radio again that he was at Walgreen’s or a close-by gasoline station
The protection asserted that the accuser was in a position to see Jones’ tattoos whereas he attended pool events on the dwelling of Cline’s neighbor. Proof was launched that each he and the accuser attended at the very least a kind of pool events. As for the intercourse toys, Cline acknowledged she had them, however denied she ever used them on or launched them to the accuser.
A lot of the trial centered on whether or not Jones would have had time to commit the assaults in the timeframe the accuser stated they did. Although Jones stated he did cease by Cline’s dwelling for “lavatory breaks,” he testified that he solely did that between September 2008 and January 2009, when he labored the day shift in that space.
The lady contended the assaults started in early 2009 and ran for greater than a 12 months. She stated they passed off between the time she arrived at Cline’s dwelling after faculty at about 2:30 p.m. and earlier than her mom picked her up a few hours later.
However Clancy and Smith level out quite a few issues with the timeframe, reminiscent of the truth that Jones had shift modifications at 3 p.m. If he was on day shift, that meant returning his police automotive earlier than that day’s “lineup.” It additionally meant not stepping into his automotive till about 3:30 p.m. to start the night shift.
Peter Dujardin, 757-247-4749, email@example.com