Interesting story. Considering his previous encounter with a 12-year-old (all this happened when Mr. Yarnell was 16), there must be compelling evidence that he, in fact, is innocent.
Not guilty on 3 counts of rape.
MILLERSBURG -- A jury Wednesday found a Kentucky man not guilty of charges that alleged he raped a 10-year-old girl.
John Yarnell, 29, 438 Grayson Lake Drive, Lexington, was found not guilty of three counts of rape at the close of a three-day jury trial in Holmes County Common Pleas Court. The charges alleged he had sex with a girl in 1996 and 1997 while she was living in Holmes County when she was between the ages of 10 and 11.
The verdict came the same day Yarnell took the witness stand and denied the alleged victim's accusations that he had sex with her. He further said that statements in two recorded phone calls from May 2008 that Holmes County Prosecuting Attorney Steve Knowling claimed were admissions of guilt were an attempt to get the girl to vocalize the accusations so he could show they were different from those made in 2000 by the same girl.
When the calls were made, Yarnell said he expected them to be recorded, and if he could get the alleged victim to talk, she would change her story from 2000. He said investigator's notes from the 2000 investigation would show two different stories and played along to that end, stating on the recordings he never "did anything to her she didn't want" and saying she "gave" her virginity to him.
"I wanted to find out why she accused me in 2000, I wanted to hear it from her mouth," Yarnell said. "The reason I made that comment was to open the door... My whole reason was to prove she changed her story."
The notes from 2000 were lost prior to the 2008 investigation.
Yarnell further testified he deliberately avoided the alleged victim in 1996 and 1997 because he was aware of her troubled past. The girl was adopted at age 10 by a Holmes County family, having been placed in an orphanage at age 5. Evidence presented at trial indicated the girl was taken from her family at age 5 because she was being sexually abused.
Under cross examination by Knowling, Yarnell said he called the alleged victim's adopted mother a liar in one of the two recorded phone calls because he didn't want her to know he and the mother had been in contact for the first time in several years. Yarnell said he lost touch with the mother because of the alleged victim's attempts to "put a wedge" between them using lies.
The adopted mother and her husband both testified Tuesday that Yarnell and the girl were never left alone together, contrary to the alleged victim's claims.
Yarnell repeatedly answered "no" to Knowling's questions accusing him of sex with the girl and asserted he felt he did not have to prove his innocence past his statements in the two phone calls.
Knowling also cross examined Yarnell about his 2000 conviction for corruption of a minor, in which he was charged with having sex with a 12-year-old girl.
"I believe everyone makes a mistake, and that was the one I made," Yarnell said.
Yarnell's attorney, Andrew Hyde, used Yarnell's and the mother's testimony to portray the alleged victim as a child that used lies to get affection or her way. Yarnell testified that the alleged victim lied and made threats so frequently he could not leave the girl alone with his friends.
"She tried to get my friends to hate me (and said) things she had completely made up, things that were false," Yarnell said. "She was trying to ruin my life."