Jury: Teen guilty of sex crimes against child

Defense attorney says client wrongly accused of abusing 6-year-old

Posted: Thursday, September 18, 2003

A jury deliberated about two hours Wednesday afternoon before finding a Juneau teenager guilty of two counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a 6-year-old girl.

Scott Ellis, who was 17 in February when he was ordered tried as an adult, buried his head in his hands and cried when the jury forewoman read the first of the two guilty verdicts. The crime has a presumptive sentence of eight years in prison. Alaska law sets a maximum sentence of 30 years for the offense.

Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks scheduled sentencing for Nov. 20. He ordered Ellis held without bail until the hearing.

Ellis was accused of having sex with a 6-year-old girl at his home on two occasions last spring. The Empire is withholding the name of the girl, who testified in court Tuesday.

Now 7, the girl said in court that Ellis did a "bad thing" to her. Despite several questions about details from Assistant District Attorney Richard Svobodny, she wouldn't say what that was.

Exhibit one for the prosecution was a videotape of an interview with a social worker in which the girl described the abuse.

Defense attorney David Mallet argued that there were inconsistencies in what the girl said. He also argued that there was no physical evidence and told the jurors that thinking Ellis was "probably guilty" would not be enough to convict him.

"Mr. Ellis has always, to this day, said he was innocent," Mallet told the Empire before leaving the courtroom Wednesday.

He described his client as "a wonderful kid" and said it was too early to discuss grounds for appeal.

Before returning to the Lemon Creek Correctional Center, Ellis hugged his mother and the two cried in each other's arms. His mother declined comment on the verdict.

Jury deliberations were scheduled to begin in the morning. However, one juror called in sick. An alternate juror was seated to replace her in the afternoon.

• Tony Carroll can be reached at tony.carroll@juneauempire.com.



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