A Superior Court judge denied on Friday former Columbia County commissioner Scott Dean a new child molestation trial.
Dean, who was convicted in December of molesting his adopted teen daughter, filed a motion for a new trial in February.
After hearing arguments from Dean’s attorney, Pete Theodocion, Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. denied the request.
“Let the appellate process begin,” Blanchard said after announcing his decision during the hearing at the Evans courthouse.
The jury found Dean guilty of exposing himself to and inappropriately touching his teen daughter, one of five children he and his wife adopted from Guatemala in 2008. The girl claimed Dean entered her room at night and touched her. He denied the charges when he testified at the trial.
Theodocion argued that the allegations against Dean were made up. He said testimony should have been allowed in Dean’s trial that showed his daughter lied in a similar situation in Guatemala, where she suffered abuse from their parents.
Dean’s oldest daughter Marlin testified at the hearing that her sister lied by telling a Guatemalan judge her biological father murdered her brother. Marlin said the false testimony was an attempt by her sister to get her and her family into an orphanage.
At the trial, Theodocion alleged that the girl gave false testimony against Dean. Marlin testified then that her sister desperately wanted to get out of her Harlem home because she didn’t get along with Dean’s wife.
“She had done this in the past,” Theodocion said. “She was going to use that same tool again.”
Assistant District Attorney Madonna Little said at the hearing that testimony accusing the girl of lying in a Guatemala courtroom wasn’t allowed because the testimony didn’t involve a sex crime. The law, Little said, only lets attorneys present testimony of false accusations when the victim lied about sexual misconduct.
Also during the criminal trial, prosecutors introduced testimony that Dean at age 14 molested two 12-year-old girls. Theodocion argued the testimony was inappropriate because the incidents involved juveniles, not an adult and child.
Theodocion said that the incidents, which happened at a group sleepover in 1984, were too old to show Dean’s state of mind. He also noted that the incidents were never documented with authorities.
“They are too remote to be pertinent,” he said. “It’s just hard to defend yourself against those kind of allegations.”
Theodocion alleged that statements from the prosecutor and testimony from the victims of those 1984 incidents prejudiced the jury against Dean.
The jury convicted Dean on two counts of child molestation. In February, Blanchard sentenced him to 20 years in prison and 20 years on probation. Based on guidelines from the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, Dean won’t be eligible for parole for 18 years.
Theodocion has 30 days to file an appeal of Dean’s verdict with the Georgia Court of Appeals.
Dean served on the Harlem City Council and more than five years as the city’s mayor before winning a seat to the county commission in July 2008.
He won the July 2010 Republican primary in the District 4 commission race despite being accused several weeks earlier of exchanging inappropriate text messages with a married county employee.
Dean then ran unopposed in the November 2010 general election.
He resigned from the commission in February 2011 when he was indicted on the child molestation charges.