Jury convicts Charles City man of sex crimes with teenager, recommends 66 years in prison
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A Charles City man who had sexual interactions with a teenager was found guilty on four charges during a two-day trial in Charles City Circuit Court.
A jury found Jonathan Douglas McMullen, 35, of the 10000 block of Harrison Lake Drive, on two counts each of aggravated sexual battery against a minor between the ages of 13-17 and using an object for sexual penetration by force. A mistrial was declared on one charge each of incest and rape, while three charges of carnal knowledge without force with a minor between the ages of 13-17 and one charge of aggravated sexual battery with a minor between the ages of 13-17 were dropped before the trial.
In 2015, the victim, who was a teenage relative of McMullen, begin to spend time at the defendant’s house. Over time, the victim got comfortable enough to stay at the defendant’s home, resulting in McMullen renovating a room and a place to stay for the victim if they chose to do so.
The victim testified, saying that as time progressed, McMullen offered her alcohol, specifically Vodka. The victim also said that she was offered marijuana but declined it. The relationship began taking a sexual turn in 2016, with the victim saying how uncomfortable she was with McMullen’s advances.
“He began to ask me things such as if I knew where my clitoris was and if I played with myself,” the victim testified. “He would come to my bedroom and lay on top of me. He would try to touch my thigh and leg.”
After the victim got in trouble at school, she stayed at the defendant’s house as he was the only relative who did not work during the day due to a disability. According to the victim’s testimony, McMullen spanked her as a physical punishment for getting kicked out of school.
“He told me that he wanted to show me how to do things, so I would know how to deal with them,” the victim said of McMullen’s sexual advancements after the spanking. “He would come up to the bedroom when I was trying to lay down and talk. He would put his hand on my knee and to my thigh and pull off my shorts.
“I would push him off and he would leave for the rest of the night and not come back for a few days,” the victim added.
Those advancements progressed, with the victim stating that McMullen fondled her butt and then slide his fingers inside of her clitoris.
“I began to force myself to cry and then he would tell me he was sorry,” the victim said. “I reverted to the fetal position to protect myself.”
The victim said she did not tell anybody until her ex-boyfriend in November 2016. The ex-boyfriend testified shortly afterwards, saying that he believed it was nobody’s business to know as his reasoning for not alerting authorities.
The victim also commented about why she didn’t share the information with her mother.
“She was going through a lot of things and I wasn’t sure what mom would do,” she said.
Defense attorney Denis Englisby challenged the victim’s comments, asking why she didn’t take other measures.
“Weren’t there other people in the house at the time? Questioned Englisby. “Weren’t there other times that you spent with the defendant?”
The victim answered yes to both of the questions.
“Why didn’t you scream if you knew the family was home and this was taking place?” the defense lawyer asked.
“I was too embarrassed,” the victim replied. “I didn’t think anybody would believe me.”
Eventually the victim was able to find another place to go instead of McMullen’s home during the day after her removal from school in early 2017. The victim entered into rehabilitation as part of being reinstated in school and eventually moved to another therapist, Dr. Sunny Hong.
“I saw she was depressed, was anxious, and had alcohol issues,” the doctor testified. “After two months, all of her alcohol-related issues were resolved but I did not notice any positive turns that I usually see from my clients.”
It was in the twelfth session that the victim disclosed information about the incidents with McMullen. By law, Hong reported it to authorities.
The victim’s former best friend also testified and said McMullen also entered the bedroom during the times she stayed overnight in the home.
“He followed me and her to the bedroom,” the best friend testified. “He would get on the bed where me and her laid and would dry hump us.”
The former friend said that she also drank alcohol at McMullen’s home and was offered marijuana. When questioned by Englisly why she didn’t report the incident when she found about it, the friend said that she felt like it was none of her business as her friendship with the victim had grown apart.
After the prosecution rested, McMullen testified on his own behalf, saying the incidents and testimony by the victim had been fabricated.
“I never humped those girls. I never molested those girls,” he said. “I am disabled and have been since my days when I repelled out of helicopters.
“None of that ever happened,” McMullen continued. “I believe she was angry with me and she wasn’t in a good place at the time.”
Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Tyler’s cross-examination questioned about a particular response given by McMullen during testimony regarding the victim’s disdain for him.
“You said she got made over you over a shirt?” questioned Tyler.
“She got tired of seeing my children wearing her clothes,” McMullen responded. “You know how teenagers can be. They get mad over little things.”
“So, you are saying that these serious charges against you came up as a result of her clothes being worn by your children?” the Commonwealth’s Attorney questioned.
“Yes. That and not being able to go on a trip,” the defendant responded.
McMullen admitted that he gave the victim some alcohol but did not introduce to it, as well that he smoked marijuana. He also said that the victim and her former best friend spent time in the family’s garage where the alcohol and entertainment were at while he wasn’t in there.
After a day of testimony on Thursday (Aug. 30), the jury returned Friday morning. After three hours of deliberation, they rendered guilty verdicts on the four felony charges. The panel returned to the jury room, spending the next 90 minutes deciding a recommended punishment for the defendant. When the group returned, a recommendation of 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine were made on each of the two aggravated sexual battery charges, while 23 years in prison was proposed on each charge of using an object for sexual penetration by force, bringing the jury’s total recommendation to 66 years with a fine of $100,000.
Formal sentencing for McMullen is scheduled for Nov. 9. Englisby indicated that he plans to appeal the decision of the case to a higher court.