Jury deliberations continue in Farmington trial

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FARMINGTON — A Franklin County jury will continue its deliberations Friday in the case of a Madrid Township man accused of sexually assaulting and sexually abusing a teenage boy from Massachusetts in 2008 and 2009.

Justice Nancy Mills sent the jury home Thursday afternoon after it met for six hours without reaching verdicts in the trial of John A. Fahnley, 59. He is charged with one count of gross sexual assault stemming from an incident in August 2008 and two counts of sexual abuse of a minor stemming from incidents in August 2008 and February 2009, according to the court.

According to court records, the incidents occurred at Fahnley’s home when the boy was under 16 years old.

The boy revealed the abuse to his mother after his 18th birthday in September 2011, and an investigation was launched in Massachusetts the following month, according to testimony. The case was passed to Franklin County sheriff’s Detective Lt. David St. Laurent in October 2012, and Fahnley was arrested in December 2012. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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During their deliberations on the second day of the trial, jurors returned to the Franklin County Superior courtroom three times to have testimony reread and be assured by the judge that they were doing their job. They will continue deliberating at 10 a.m. Friday.

The boy’s mother testified that she let her son visit Fahnley, a longtime family friend, to help him cut and stack wood after Fahnley told her he was sick. She said Fahnley told her he had cancer and would probably die from it, and he needed open-heart surgery and couldn’t prepare for winter.

Physician Assistant Linda Seabold testified Thursday that Fahnley did not have cancer. She said he complained of chest pain in July 2008 and had a procedure that determined his heart was fine.

Seabold said Fahnley was given oxycodone to ease pain from a herniated disc in his neck but when that didn’t work, he had surgery.

According to testimony, Fahnley told doctors he was taking 10, 5-milligram tablets of oxycodone a day, along with several glasses of wine and ibuprofen to try to ease the pain prior to surgery.

Fahnley waived his rights to confidentiality of his medical records, which were submitted as evidence to allow the physician assistant to testify.

In his closing arguments to the jury, Robbins said the boy became painfully sick in an attempt to retell his story on the witness stand. He testified he drank vodka and consumed drugs, and became so sick he passed out at Fahnley’s house. He said when he awoke Fahnley was removing his clothes and pinning him down before performing a sexual act on him, Robbins said.

Robbins called Fahnley a sexual predator who uses alcohol and drugs to get what he wants.

The teenager was so conflicted due to Fahnley being a family friend that he kept the incident to himself until after he turned 18, Robbins said.

The boy also testified that the sexual act happened after his mother’s birthday in August 2008 and before his birthday in early September 2008, Robbins told jurors.

Robbins also reminded jurors that they heard from the boy’s anguished mother who sent her son to help Fahnley, a family friend.

“He violated the trust of the family,” he said.

Defense attorney Kevin Joyce told jurors there were inconsistencies in the boy’s statements on dates, number of times sexual acts happened and the kinds of drugs he used at Fahnley’s home.

Joyce also told the jury the boy was diagnosed with depression at age 12 and did not tell police about Fahnley’s health issues until he prepared for testimony with prosecutors for the trial.

Joyce said the boy’s family came to Fahnley’s home and the boy’s mother did not see any red flags indicating sexual abuse or sexual assault had occurred.

Robbins countered that the boy did not keep a calendar of when things happened. Memories fade, he said, but the first time the boy was violated is etched in his mind.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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