Francis Taitano found not guilty of rape
Monday, January 26th 2015, 3:45 PM ChST
Guam - It marks one of the fastest verdicts in Guam history.
After only two hours in deliberations, jurors in the Francis Taitano rape trial reach a unanimous decision.
Defendant Francis Taitano and his wife, Kathy, were moved to tears with today's not guilty verdict.
"As to first degree criminal sexual conduct we the jury in the above entitled case unanimously find the defendant Francis Jude Taitano not guilty in the offense of first degree criminal sexual conduct as charged in the indictment," it was announced.
The couple walked arm in arm out of Judge Maria Cenzon's courtroom Monday afternoon. Although they declined to comment on today's verdict, defense attorney Mark Kondas beamed as he addressed media.
"I'm just happy with the verdict," he said.
Taitano was accused of raping a 10-year-old girl in his Yigo home nearly seven years ago. If convicted, he would've faced 15 years to life behind bars.
According to the victim's testimony, it was back in May 2007 the victim was sleeping in the same room with Taitano and his wife, Kathy. In the middle of the night, Taitano woke her up, called her to the back patio, and allegedly forced her to touch his privates. Taitano then called her back into the bedroom and told the girl to watch him and Kathy have sex. Because Kathy refused and went back to sleep, Taitano allegedly raped the young girl instead.
Shortly after the alleged rape, the girl moved to the States. Upon moving back to Guam, she reported the incident to her father who reported it to police.
Although disappointed in today's verdict, prosecutor Jeremiah Luther says there are other losses as a result of the trial.
"The tragedy here is that a family has really been split in two by what happened. And so we're going to be in touch with the victim and the victim's family," he said. "We've already extensively already. If they need support or explanation, we're going to be there for them through this period."