Judge finds Dexter man guilty of child molestation - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Judge finds Dexter man guilty of child molestation

Jessie Mann (Source: Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney's Office) Jessie Mann (Source: Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney's Office)

A Dexter man was found guilty of child molestation on Tuesday, February 25.

Jessie Mann stood trial in a Cape Girardeau County Courthouse for charges of first degree child molestation concerning allegations that in November of 2011 he had sexual contact with a then three-year-old girl.

Mann was arrested soon after the allegations surfaced and has been in custody since his arrest.

Circuit Judge Benjamin Lewis handed down the guilty verdict on Tuesday in a Jackson Courtroom. Sentencing was scheduled for April 14, 2014. The Defendant is facing five to 15 years in prison and mandatory life-time supervision.

Testifying at trial was the child’s biological mother, to whom the child initially disclosed the abuse. The biological mother further testified that Jessie Mann had been living with herself, the victim and her two-year-old son for about a month and that the he had access to the three-year-old victim.

She further stated on the day of the initial disclosure when Mann's name was mentioned the victim froze in place and started shaking

Also testifying was the Forensic Interviewer, Beth Baugh, with Beacon Health Care who conducted the Safe Exam interview of the child victim. Baugh testified that the child, due to her extremely young age, was easily distracted and it was difficult to get her attention, however at one point in the interview, when she was asking the victim about Jessie Mann, the child spontaneously and without prompting stated that Mann had “touched her no-no.”

The child’s current foster care mother also testified concerning statements that the child had made to her concerning the abuse. The foster care mother also described instances that showed sexualization of the child that was atypical for a child of her young years.

The child victim testified via video-taped deposition due to a prior hearing conducted by the Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in which the Court found that the child would suffer emotional and/or psychological trauma if she were forced to testify in the presence of the Mann. The video-taped deposition was conducted prior to trial and without Mann in the courtroom. However, Mann’s lawyer was given opportunity to cross-examine the child victim to satisfy and protect the Defendant’s 6th Amendment Confrontation rights.

The last witness to testify for the State was Detective Lt. Treavor Pulley. Detective Pulley detailed two interviews that he conducted with Mann. Throughout most of the interviews Mann denied touching the child. Detective Pulley asked during the second interview, “did this happen 10 times?” Mann replied, “no.” Pulley then asked, “did it happen two times?” Mann replied, “no.” Pulley then asked, “did it happen just once,” and Mann said, “yeah.”

When asked what happened Mann that “he must have blacked out." Detective Pulley said that this was a common method of "minimizing" a person's involvement, frequently seen in cases where there are allegations of sexual abuse of a child.

Mann then related that he was sorry for doing it to the victim and that he “probably could use treatment for this and would get himself some treatment in Tennessee when this was all over.”

Mann also testified on his own behalf. In his short testimony, he stated that he did not touch the victim and only admitted to touching the victim to Detective Pulley because he was tired of questioning and thought if he would admit to the crime the questioning would stop.

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