The trial of former Columbia County Commissioner and accused child molester Scott Dean started Monday.
Assistant District Attorney Parks White said in his opening statements that Dean appeared to be an upstanding citizen, but harbored “a dark secret: a lustful disposition for minor girls.”
Dean, 42, is accused of exposing himself to and inappropriately touching his daughter, one of five children he and his wife adopted from Guatemala in 2008.
Pete Theodocion, Dean’s attorney, said the girl grew up in an abusive home and was very close to her older sister, Marlin.
“They had no secrets with each other,” Theodocion said. “(The alleged victim) never told Marlin Dean, never once, that anything inappropriate happened with Scott Dean.”
Marlin said she ran away from the Dean’s Harlem home in October 2010 to be with her boyfriend. While in Mexico, Marlin said she lied about her adopted father, insinuating he’d touched her younger sister and made advances toward her to get money from her family.
“She was on the road in Mexico,” Theodocion said at a similar transaction hearing held before the jury trial began. “(She lied so) that people would send her money and feel sorry for her.”
Marlin confirmed Theodocion’s statement with her testimony during the similar transaction hearing.
Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. ruled at that pre-trial hearing that White could present evidence that Dean allegedly committed similar sex acts against underage girls other than his daughters.
A pair of West Virginia twin sisters testified that Dean, then 14, molested them at a pool party and sleepover at their home when they were 12. Those cases were never prosecuted.
White also alleged that between January and October of 2010 Dean criminally attempted to commit incest with two of his daughters, one of whom is the victim in the child molestation case. No charges have been filed in connection with those allegations.
Investigators from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and Oglethorpe County Department of Family and Children Services conducted parallel investigations into the accusations against Dean. The DFCS child abuse investigator testified that the victim claims Dean touched her and exposed himself.
Dean was elected to the county commission in 2008 and re-elected in November 2010 despite being accused several months earlier of sending inappropriate text messages to a married county employee.
Following a February indictment on two counts of child molestation, Dean resigned his commission seat. He entered a plea of not guilty to those charges.
Dean has not lived in the family’s home since DFCS temporarily removed the adopted children in October 2010.
A Columbia County grand jury re-indicted Dean on Sept. 28 on the same charges, but adjusted dates and the nature of one of the charges, according to court documents.
The initial indictment states the activity occurred between Sept. 1, 2008, and Sept. 11, 2010. The new indictment extends that period to Oct. 11, 2010. Dean entered another not guilty plea on Oct. 21.
The trial is expected to continue today at the Columbia County courthouse in Evans.