A suspect facing child molestation expenses was granted a $75,000 bond in Jones County Outstanding Court, which is a unusual event.
Michael Anthony Lester, 57, was arrested June 7 and charged with boy or girl molestation and aggravated youngster molestation subsequent a criticism that dates back 7 yrs. He was in courtroom July 8, represented by protection attorney Keith Fitzgerald trying to get a bond.
Assistant District Legal professional Faith Worley managed the situation for the state.
Following listening to the arguments from the lawyers, Excellent Courtroom Judge Terry Massey granted Lester a bond with the stipulation the defendant remains at household and is monitored.
The choose claimed the expense of the monitoring machine was to be born by Lester.
He claimed the only exceptions to the house arrest are the defendant is allowed to go to function and physician visits.
Massey also still left the form of bond up to the sheriff’s discretion.
The side of the courtroom behind Lester was filled with supporters at the bond hearing. Fitzgerald claimed each of individuals supporters ended up all set to speak on his client’s behalf. The attorney explained Lester is no threat to flee as he has an autistic son who demands him.
“Mr. Lester is trusted by customers of the neighborhood and is no hazard to reoffend,” the legal professional stated. “The only allegations he has happened seven years back.”
Worley experienced a unique viewpoint of the defendant. She advised the court that the complaint towards Lester surfaced soon after the sufferer tried suicide.
“She was taken to the healthcare facility and the facts about the molestation came out all through therapy,” the prosecutor claimed.
Worley explained three much more allegations in opposition to Lester arrived out soon after his arrest, and now there are six accusers. She claimed the original target mentioned she had not spoken about it in advance of because she was worried.
“I value the defendant has guidance, and none of us want to feel anything like this can take place. But this little one slit her wrists,” the prosecutor mentioned. “I question you to deny bond.”
Massey reported anytime a defendant is enable out, there is a hazard to reoffend.
“These are extremely severe prices. The courtroom has to equilibrium the liberty of the defendant with the basic safety of the local community,” he reported.
The decide asked Worley if dwelling arrest would function. She mentioned no due to the fact there is no system to supervise the defendant. Once again she requested the court docket to deny bond.
Fitzgerald stated there are extremely couple of facts about the situation obtainable.
“That’s why we have a demo. We just can’t decide guilt or innocence, and if he violates, he will be found out,” he stated.
The attorney reported his supporters would vouch for his integrity.
The prosecutor stated the state is also anxious that minor small children would appear to the defendant’s household.
Massey claimed the courtroom could only do so substantially to guard the public.
The judge reiterated that there is generally a danger when a defendant is introduced on bond.
“How truthful is it to go away him in jail for a calendar year or two, only for him to be found innocent?” he asked. “We can just take ways to guard the victim.”
Massey informed the defense, if Lester was less than dwelling arrest, the court wanted some confidence that he will be monitored.
Worley requested what sort of perform the defendant did for his employer. The reaction was his employer is a neurologist, and he did standard cleansing at the workplace and at the doctor’s residence.
Fitzgerald told the court docket that his customer was of negligible implies and asked him to consider the price of monitoring when environment the bond total.
Massey requested if the point out experienced a advice for the total of bond, and Worley explained she did not. She mentioned she could not come across a record of bond currently being established in Jones County for the costs of boy or girl molestation and aggravated boy or girl molestation.
Massey stated he would grant a $75,000 bond but would depart the sort of bond to the sheriff’s discretion.
“These are incredibly really serious costs. If convicted, you could commit the rest of your everyday living in prison. I want a monitored household arrest software – work, home medical doctor visits,” he stated. “You are presumed harmless, but I have to do all I can to protect the public. Any violation can revoke your bond.”
A trouble arose the adhering to working day when the checking firm assessed Lester. Because of to special boots the defendant wears mainly because of a foot trouble, it is not doable to area the keep an eye on on his ankle.
That prompted the state to question Massey to reconsider the bond at a motion day in Greene County July 12, but eventually he left the bond in place.
The father of the victim and the investigator in the case both spoke at Monday’s hearing. The father told the court docket Lester stole his daughter’s innocence.
“She replays the incident in excess of and around. She said she tried to choose her everyday living because she was so worn out of reliving it,” he stated. “He’s a predator and does not ought to have to be walking close to free of charge so he can do this to another person else.”
The father reported it would be a comfort to his daughter to know Lester is locked away.
“I question you to revoke his bond and give her justice,” he explained.
JCSO Investigator John Simmons was questioned how several victims experienced arrive ahead. He mentioned he had statements from four victims and is investigating allegations from two other folks.
Worley questioned what took them so prolonged to report the molestation and he reported they had been fearful.
“They explained he threatened their family members,” the investigator reported.
Fitzgerald instructed the courtroom he understands the father’s motivation for justice, but his statements were acceptable at a sentencing listening to if his consumer was identified guilty.
“At this time, Mr. Lester is presumed innocent,” the attorney explained.
Fitzgerald famous that the allegations ended up all quite outdated with the most modern from seven several years ago.
“He’s 55 many years aged and can barely walk.”
Worley reported the state remains adamantly opposed to bond. She claimed the allegations are previous mainly because the victims have been concerned. The prosecutor proposed the only way to keep track of Lester was to retain him in jail.
The choose experienced the last term and still left the $75,000 bond in location along with the earlier restrictions.
“Not providing him a bond would complete that,”