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Split verdict reached for accused child molester

Man found guilty of one charge, not guilty on a lesser allegation

Posted: Friday, February 08, 2002

A Juneau jury returned a split verdict late Thursday afternoon for a Haines man accused of molesting his 6-year-old cousin.

Richard Warren, 23, was found guilty of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, a felony, and not guilty of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, a lesser felony charge.

Warren was found guilty of "digitally penetrating" the girl while he visited her home during May 2000, but not guilty of touching her genitals with an object in December 2000.

According to court documents, the girl was in the care of a family friend during the week while her mother and father worked. The girl's parents did not allow Warren in the house, but the family friend did.

The girl's mother testified that her daughter told a family friend about the abuse June 1, 2001. Warren was arrested June 4.

Assistant District Attorney Dave Brower said the jury's verdict was fair and not unusual given that each charge stemmed from a different date.

"There wasn't reasonable doubt he committed sexual abuse in the first degree," he said. "But the jury had reasonable doubt that he had committed the less serious crime."

Defense attorney Philip Pallenberg declined to comment on the verdict.

Pallenberg said in his closing arguments before the jury that Warren was innocent of both charges, based on a lack of medical and physical evidence as well as discrepancies in testimony from witnesses and the victim.

Warren is scheduled to be sentenced April 29. He faces between eight and 30 years in prison.

Brower said in an interview today that Warren's only other conviction in Alaska was for disorderly conduct.

Warren is lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center, where he has been held since June.

Melanie Plenda can be reached at mplenda@juneauempire.com.



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