Defense nears closure as trial of teacher accused of sex crimes enters third week
Published: September 10, 2012
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ST. CROIX - The defense is expected to call its final witnesses in the child molestation trial against former elementary school teacher Tydel John.
The trial is now entering its third and final week in V.I. Superior Court Judge Harold Willocks' courtroom.
John is charged with multiple counts of child molestation, unlawful sexual contact and child abuse in connection with three different arrests since 2007. The cases have been consolidated.
John was arrested three separate times: Dec. 5, 2007; in April of 2008; and in August 2009. In the first two arrests, he was charged with molesting girls between the ages of 8 and 13 as he taught at two different schools on the island. While on pre-trial release, he was charged with touching a girl in Mutual Homes.
The trial began Aug. 28, and when jurors return to the courtroom today, they are expected to hear from at least two final defense witnesses before John might take the witness stand in his own defense.
Willocks also is expected to make a ruling on a Rule 29 motion for dismissal on John's behalf. Defense attorney Martial Webster argued that the charges against him should be dismissed because the prosecution had failed to present sufficient evidence to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Webster said most of the accusers did not testify with any great detail about the alleged illegal conducts and did not prove that they had experienced any emotional injury.
Assistant Attorney General Charlotte Pool Davis argued that she believed the evidence was clear and that the prosecution had proved its case that John molested the girls with the varying acts and that they had suffered emotional injury as a result.
On Friday, Willocks dismissed two of the 19 counts that had been filed against John and took seven additional counts relative to child abuse under advisement.
During the last two weeks of trial, jurors heard from the two outreach specialists, whose presentation on "good touches and bad touches" prompted the initial girls to report that John had been touching them inappropriately and launched the investigation that revealed the other cases.
Jurors also heard from all nine of John's accusers; other former students; school officials from Eulalie Rivera School, Evelyn Williams School and Good Hope School; police officers and detectives; hospital officials; and the case agent, Naomi Joseph, who took the stand as the final witness Thursday afternoon before the prosecution rested its case.
They also on Friday heard from four defense witnesses, three former coworkers and John's sister, who brought him to the territory to live with her and found him his first teaching job.
The case resumes at 9 a.m. today.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.