Despite acquittal, Minnesota CEO’s life severely damaged by stigma of crime

There are few things as devastating as an allegation of molestation. The very suggestion of inappropriate sexual conduct carries a stigma that is often devastating for individuals and their families.

When the person accused is a public figure or successful businessperson, the allegations have the potential to be even more damaging because the charges are more likely to be made public. Child molestation charges are so powerful they have the potential to destroy a family emotionally and financially, and ruin a business that took a lifetime to build.

Now imagine fighting for three years to have your name cleared, only to have the documents dismissing the charges rehash the ugly details of a crime whose only life was in the public's imagination? That is the painful reality for one Wayzata businessman.

Florence hearing blocked in odd dismissal

The man's case was abruptly dismissed in early November after his defense attorneys scheduled a "Florence" hearing that would have allowed his defense team to cross-examine the young girl and her parents about the alleged sex crime. Florence hearings are held when a defendant or witness are able to offer testimony that would exonerate a defendant.

The defense team believed that had that hearing taken place, they would have been able to show that the girl, who was 10-years-old at the time of alleged offense, was coerced into making the accusations after being kept in a room with police until she agreed to make a statement against the businessman.

The dismissal cut off the opportunity to have that hearing, which would have done a lot to help the businessman restore his name. The dismissal papers that were filed with the court added insult to this injury. Ordinarily just a few sentences in length, the dismissal of charges in this case ran six pages long. They not only revisited the painful allegations, but also drew fire against the alleged victim herself, who sent a sworn statement to the prosecution stating that she refused to testify against the businessman.

Justice denied for exonerated man

The dismissal has drawn sharp criticism from attorneys representing both the young girl and the defense for the unorthodox way in which it was handled. While the County Attorney's office claims they were doing only what justice required. While justice required dismissing the charges, how the dismissal was handled was anything but just.

For now, the businessman's only goal is to try to return to a normal life with his family and friends. Although the events are in the past, the trauma of the case and its dismissal will haunt him for the rest of his life.

If you have been charged, hire a strong sex crime defense lawyer

The businessman's long journey and eventual vindication highlight the importance of having a strong defense. If you or a loved one has been accused of sexual molestation or any other sex crime, you should speak to an experienced and tough Minneapolis criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you protect your rights and will work with you to build a strong defense.