CLEARFIELD – A jury of eight women and four men found a Madera man who was accused of raping and sexually assaulting a girl over a three-year period beginning in 2012 not guilty of all charges after deliberating for approximately two hours Thursday.
Robert Philbert Myers, 36, of Madera was charged with 20 counts each of rape forcible compulsion; statutory sexual assault-11 years older; involuntary deviate sexual intercourse-person less than 16 years of age; and indecent assault-person less than 16 years of age.
Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. presented the case on behalf of the commonwealth. Myers was represented by defense attorneys Carl Zwick and Leanne Nedza. Judge Paul E. Cherry presided over the trial, which began Monday in Clearfield County Court.
Myers was accused of raping and sexually assaulting a girl over a three-year period, beginning in July of 2012 and ending in July of 2014. However, he denied the allegations made against him when he took the stand in his defense yesterday.
The defense also presented numerous character witnesses, all of whom told jurors that Myers had a good reputation as being honest and truthful in their Madera community.
In her closing arguments yesterday, Nedza told jurors that the alleged victim’s testimony was riddled with major discrepancies. She accused her and her mother of making up the allegations and plotting to file a report.
She also questioned how it was possible for the girl to experience multiple rapes but not remember which one was the first incident. Nedza said although she testified she was blocking it from memory, it still would have been traumatic for her, and she would have remembered exact details.
Nedza played the audio of the alleged victim’s interview with state police at the start of her closing arguments yesterday. In concluding, she called jurors’ attention to the fact that she lacked emotion in her voice and demeanor.
In a media interview after the trial, Shaw said: “The jury rendered a verdict in the case. Although we disagree, we support the jury system . . . People read about these cases in the newspaper and say ‘boy, it’s awful.’
“But they really don’t realize how hard it is to get a conviction with one child and so little physical evidence.” Shaw went on to say the district attorney’s office will continue to pursue these types of cases when there is more than a child’s report to authorities.
“Otherwise these kids don’t have a chance. We don’t want kids and families to be discouraged [by the verdict]. We don’t want this case to have a chilling effect … If you are a child who is being abused, report it. We will listen to you.”
Shaw pointed out that while the verdict was being read, a few jurors teared up. He said that was “telling” to him and he felt they may have felt Myers had done something to the alleged victim, but it was a case of her testimony against that of Myers.
Shaw said he was extremely proud of the girl for standing up for herself and telling her story in court. He said while being questioned by the defense for hours Monday afternoon, she showed her maturity and poise.
“Sex abuse cases are some of the hardest convictions to get though,” Shaw said, because children don’t develop hatred for their abuser and continue to love them. “It hurt she was a child. People have a hard time believing their response to the abuse.”