Vandeventer convicted of three of five counts of child molestation

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Greene Superior Court jurors returned a guilty verdict in three of the five felony child molesting charges against former Greene County General Hospital Chaplain Randell Vandeventer on Thursday night after nearly eight-and-one-half hours of deliberation.

The 51-year-old Vandeventer was found guilty of three counts of child molesting — all class C felonies.

He was acquitted of two counts of class A felony child molesting and one count of attempted child molesting, a class C felony.

The jury retired to deliberate the case began at 11:08 a.m. and notice was sent to the judge’s office about 7:30 p.m. that a verdict had been reached in the trial that started Monday morning with jury selection.

The possible sentence ranges between two and eight years on each of the guilty counts. Superior Court Judge Dena Martin set sentencing for 10 a.m. on March 14.

She also ordered a pre-sentence investigation to be conducted by the Greene County Probation Department.

Prior to the jurors returning to the courtroom with their verdict, Judge Martin explained that the jurors had requested to see copies of the transcripts of the victim’s interviews with the police. She denied that request.

She also said about 30 minutes before the verdict was reached, the foreman of the jury informed her that he didn’t think they were going to reach a verdict on any of the six counts.

Judge Martin said she instructed them that they needed to deliberate long in an attempt to reach a verdict and avert a hung jury.

A short time later, she was then informed by the jury foreman that “It might not matter. We have come to a conclusion and have reached a decision on all of the counts.”

The jurors returned to the courtroom at 7:48 p.m. and the jury foreman handed the judge the verdicts, which were read individually by each count by Judge Martin.

Defense attorney Luther Garcia then requested that the jurors be individually polled. Each affirmed the three guilty verdicts and trio of acquittals.

The defendant was remained into the custody of the Greene County Sheriff’s Department. He is scheduled to be returned to the New Castle Correctional Facility on Friday.

Vandeventer was subdued and showed little outward reaction when the verdicts were being read.

As he was being led from the courtroom by two Greene County Sheriff’s Department deputies he looked towards his wife and two sons and said in a low voice, “I’ll call you.”

Vandeventer was convicted last year of child seduction —- a class D felony —- in an unrelated case involving a teenager. He was sentenced to one-and-a-half years in that case, but with good time and credit for time

served he is expected to complete that sentence with the Indiana Department of Correction on April 29.

This case involves four victims — three males and one female — over a time period 2000 to 2008 when the children attended Tiny Town Daycare Center in Switz City that was owned by Vandeventer and his wife, Lia.

Three male victims allege they were all molested by Vandeventer, while an attempted child molestation count involved allegations made by a female victim during the time period 2000 to 2008.

Today, the youngsters range in age from 14 to 17 years.

In counts 2 and 3, Vandeventer was convicted of molesting a now 17-year-old boy between 2001 and 2008 by “knowingly and intentionally performing fondling or touching to the child with the intent to arouse or satisfy sexual desires” of the child or himself.

This victim told the court that he was molested more than 200 times during his eight-year stay at Tiny Town Daycare Center in Switz City.

In the other guilty count, Vandeventer was convicted of molesting a now 15-year old boy between the years 2005 and 2006 when he attended the daycare owned by the Vandeventers in Switz City.

The defendant was acquitted of a molestation charge that involved alleged sexual deviate conduct with a boy, who attended the daycare between 2002 and 2003. The alleged victim is now 14.

Vandeventer was acquitted of the attempted child molesting charge against a female victim, who is now 16. The allegations spanned the period of 2002 and 2003.

In his nearly 60 minute closing argument Thursday morning, McIntosh said the decision of the jury would be based up knowledge, common sense life experiences and the believability of the four victims — now teenagers.

“These were 6, 7, and 8 year old kids (when the allegations took place),” McIntosh reminded the seven women, five men jury. “This case is about these kids and their involvement with Mr. Vandeventer.”

The jurors were then read 26-pages of jury instructions and possible verdicts by Judge Martin, then dismissed to the jury room to deliberate the case.

Article source: http://www.gcdailyworld.com/story/1816698.html

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