Wheeling Man Acquitted on Dozen Criminal Charges
Attorney Matt Ness recently assisted a Wheeling, VA man when a litany of sex crime and other criminal charges jeopardized his freedom.
The client, a 36-year-old father of four, was experiencing a family dispute involving his teenage daughter. When the 15-year-old expressed interest in going out with older boys and experimenting with drugs, her father put his foot down. His daughter threatened to accuse him of assaulting and raping her if he didn’t let her do what she wanted. When he refused, the man’s daughter went to stay with his sister temporarily.
While in the sister’s custody, the daughter came forward with false allegations of assault and rape against her father. The girl’s mother, who had feuded with the father over custody of their daughter for much of her life, went with her to the authorities and filed charges. During this time, the daughter made a TikTok video admitting to fabricating the accusations and told another witness so. The father was arrested and put in jail pending trial.
Unfortunately, the charges were brought soon after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Courts in Pennsylvania did not hear cases due to health and safety concerns, and the man stayed in jail for 22 months until his trial could move forward. Despite evidence that the allegations were untrue, the client was not allowed to leave jail because of the nature of the charges, keeping him from spending time with his other kids and causing him to lose his relationship with his fiancée.
The client faced a total of 12 charges including rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, endangering the welfare of a child, and corruption of a minor. The charges coincided with the state of Pennsylvania’s decision to reinstate mandatory minimum sentences. With these mandatory minimums, the man faced at least 37 years in prison and a maximum of over 150. In addition, he would have had to register as a sex offender for life if found guilty.
Facing what was essentially a life sentence, the man reached out to Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys LLC for help. Attorney Ness highlighted the inconsistencies and untruths in the daughter’s allegations during trial, and the jury returned after two hours of deliberation and acquitted the man on all charges. He was released the same day after spending nearly two years in jail awaiting trial.
The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.