A former Michigan police officer has been cleared of all nine charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in a case involving a 15-year-old relative.
The jury declared Troy Estree, 46, not guilty Jan. 27 after around eight hours of deliberation, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported.
Estree faced life imprisonment if he had been found guilty. A criminal sexual conduct charge involving another relative is still pending against him, with the trial due to commence in April.
Estree was accused of sexually assaulting the 15-year-old over several months, both at his family home and while on duty as a police officer. The abuse alleged occurred between January and August 2014.
The prosecution alleged that Estree began sexually assaulting the girl shortly after she got in contact with him following a period of estrangement lasting 13 years.
They pointed out that both Estree and the girl had herpes.
During her testimony, the girl said Estree began sexually assaulting her while they watched the television show “Family Guy.”
“It started with him touching me up my leg and closer to my thighs and then my private areas,” she told the court, according to a separate article from the Enquirer. She added that he repeatedly had anal and oral sex with her.
Closing arguments were made in the case Jan. 26.
“If you believe that girl right there alone,” Kalamazoo County assistant prosecutor Michael Stein said, according to another Enquirer article, “that is enough. She was on the stand five hours and answered every single solitary question.”
Stein argued that Estree did not want to have a healthy relationship with his teenage relative.
“He was interested in a sex toy,” he added.
Representing Estree, defense attorney Keeley Heath denied the allegations, saying the claim that Estree had raped the girl on a park bench while wearing his police belt was physically impossible.
“That can’t happen,” Heath said. “None of this makes sense.”
Heath also accused the prosecution of failing to present the evidence in full. She said some Facebook posts indicated that the girl had sexual relations with others.
“She describes interactions and describes the same as it happened with Troy,” Heath said. “Look at the Facebook records. You need to look at it all.”
The jury made no comment after its decision.