LOWVILLE A Lewis County jury on Thursday acquitted a Beaver Falls man who had been accused of sexually abusing two underage girls.
Following a half-hour of deliberations, an eight-man, four-woman jury found Billie J. Wilmot, 35, of 9624 Main St., not guilty of all charges levied against him, according to Assistant District Attorney Caleb J. Petzoldt, who prosecuted the case.
Charges included first-degree criminal sex act, two counts apiece of third-degree rape and first-degree sexual abuse, four counts of third-degree sexual abuse and five counts of third-degree criminal sex act.
He had been accused of having improper sexual relations with two girls younger than 17, one from September 2010 to December 2011 and the other from February 2012 to April.
You can give Billie back his tomorrow, Mr. Wilmots attorney, Gary W. Miles, told jurors during closing arguments late Thursday morning.
Mr. Miles questioned the credibility of the girls testimony and the length of time it took to report the alleged acts.
He noted the initial alleged victim had indicated she felt safe with Mr. Wilmot during a November 2011 interview with a Department of Social Services worker, even though she later reported he had been abusing her since more than a year earlier.
Why say that if he abused her? Mr. Miles asked. That says a lot about what the truth is here.
The defense attorney suggested the allegations stemmed from a teenage girl who wanted control over her life and was trying to get away from the father figure who was attempting to rein her in.
Mr. Miles also questioned the more than one-year lapse in which Mr. Wilmot was not alleged to have been abusing anyone.
Sex abusers dont stop, he said. Not when theyre successful.
Mr. Petzoldt countered that abuse victims often dont report the crimes for some time, feeling they are to blame or wont be believed.
I think you see a girl who was shameful, who was scared, he said.
Mr. Petzoldt also noted the alleged victim is now 18 years old, meaning she is an adult in the eyes of the law and no longer would gain any freedom through Mr. Wilmots conviction.
Youve got to put everything in context, he said.
Acting County Judge Donald E. Todd presided over the three-day trial.