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 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. prosecuted 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.
On Friday afternoon, Zwick issued the following statement:
“A jury of 12 people, after hearing all the testimony and evidence in this case, reached a unanimous verdict in less than two hours. That’s remarkable.
“That can mean just one thing: the jury was extremely confident, based on the evidence and testimony presented, that my client did not commit the heinous acts the Commonwealth accused him of committing.
“What’s even more remarkable here is that the jury reached its verdict in such a confident manner, without seeing evidence that the alleged Facebook messages were fictitious.
“The jury never got to see official business records from Facebook Inc., the social media giant itself, which showed that the Facebook messages never even existed. In a pre-trial decision, those official Facebook records were precluded from the trial.
“We submit that the jury should have seen those official Facebook business records. And, if the jury had, then its verdict would have been reached even quicker, likely in just minutes.
“Following the verdict, the district attorney commented about the case in a post-trial interview with various media outlets.
“Shaw told the media, it was ‘telling’ to him that, because some of the jurors teared up as the verdict was being read, the jury felt that my client had done something to the alleged victim.
‘The jury returned its unanimous verdict in less than two hours; that verdict very plainly demonstrates that the jury was confident that my client did nothing to the alleged victim.
“The jurors’ tears, if anything, were tears of relief for my client. Shaw also said that he did not want this case to have a ‘chilling effect’ on future reports of sex abuse.
“This case was wrongfully prosecuted by the Commonwealth. If anything, Shaw’s own decision to push this case to trial, while ignoring evidence tending to show my client’s innocence, will have a ‘chilling effect’ on future reports of actual child abuse.
“Shaw’s desire in this case to seek a conviction, rather than the truth, is the only part of the case that could cause such a ‘chilling effect.’ The fact is, the Commonwealth failed to properly investigate this case before filing charges against my client.
“Then, when evidence was discovered during the pendency of the case, the Commonwealth turned a blind eye to that evidence and over zealously pursued a conviction.
“The jury saw that first-hand and the jury reached its unanimous verdict very quickly. That’s very telling, and we’re very pleased with the jury’s resolve to reach its verdict in such a confident manner. Justice prevailed in this case.”