FARMINGTON – After just an hour and a half of deliberation, a jury in Franklin County Superior Court found James Richman guilty of unlawful sexual contact with a minor Tuesday afternoon.

Richman, 59, stood accused of six counts of unlawful sexual contact that occurred sometime last summer in the bedroom of his Wilton home.

The young male victim took the stand during the first afternoon of the emotional two-day trial. He shyly told the jurors how Richman, who had become a family friend, had fondled his genitals repeatedly on several nights when the boy had spent the night at Richman’s home.

During the closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Andrew Robinson told the jury that although there was no physical evidence or witnesses to the felony crime, the boy’s testimony was enough.

“It takes a lot of strength for a 10-year-old to stand before a group of adults and say what happened. What he described to you was unlawful sexual contact,” Robinson said, adding that the victim “did the right thing” in coming forward to talk about some “tough” and “intimidating” issues.

Robinson also highlighted in his argument that Richman was “evasive” and “non-responsive” to the tough questions directed toward him while on the stand. “You have to look at the two witnesses and decide who is more credible.”

Meanwhile, Richman’s defense attorney, Andrew Campbell, tried to cut down the state’s case, targeting Franklin County Sheriff’s Department sexual assault investigator David St. Laurent.

Campbell said St. Laurent’s interview with the defendant was suspicious because it was not recorded. “The defendant should not be the victim of sloppy police work,” he said.

Campbell also argued that the alleged victim was under the influence of prescription medicine for attention deficit disorder when he took the stand, which may have affected his testimony.

He said the boy’s use of the word “penis” in the accounts of what happened was “someone else’s word.”

“Someone else gave the boy the word penis. It’s not even a word he uses. I ask you to consider where the word came from. He is a young child, subject to all kinds of influence.”

Campbell suggested that the boy had a creative imagination and said, “There is a strong question about what is fantasy, what is imagination and what is fact in the boy’s mind.”

In the end, Campbell’s argument wasn’t enough and the jury found Richman guilty on one count. According to Robinson, the other five counts were most likely dropped because the boy couldn’t put an exact number on the number of occurrences.

Justice Joseph Jabar declined to set a sentence, instead requesting that Richman undergo a forensic evaluation to determine motives in the case. Instead, he ordered Richman to be taken to the Franklin County Detention Center and held without bail until a new sentencing hearing is set, expected within 30 days.

“This is ridiculous,” Richman said under his breath before holding out his hands while a deputy from the Sheriff’s Department wrapped the metal handcuffs around his wrists. Even after the jury had released its verdict, Richman maintained his innocence and spoke lovingly about the victim and his family.

Campbell said he would appeal the conviction, stating that Richman has no prior record and had “a fine reputation until this event.”

Meanwhile Robinson said he was happy with the outcome. “I don’t think they (the jury) had any doubt that unlawful sexual contact occurred. It was a very appropriate decision.”

As for the judge’s decision to hold Richman without bail until the sentencing, Robinson said it was an issue of safety. “He is an untreated sex offender and the judge wasn’t prepared to send him back into the community.”

Richman lives next to the Academy Hill School.



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