Blanchard found not guilty of sexual assault
Jamie Blanchard Jr., 24, was found not guilty on charges of aggravated sexual assault Tuesday after a one day trial in the 128th District Court. If convicted of the felony charges he could have faced up to 99 years in prison.
The case stems from an incident in September 2005 in which Blanchard, who was 17 years old at the time, was accused of sexually assaulting a five-year-old girl.
First called to testify was a former Orange Police Department detective David Vaughn. He testified he took the statement from the sister of the victim following the outcry of sexual assault. Although the alleged incident occurred in 2005, the outcry was not made until June 2007. The sister of the victim, Elayah Finster, would testify later her younger sister would tell her of the incident after watching television and she saw a couple engaged in sexual activity.
The mother of the alleged victim, Sharon Gilbert, took the stand to tell of the events leading up to the reported incident and what allegedly happened afterward.
According to Gilbert, Blanchard was the son of her boyfriend of 10 years. Blanchard had moved into the household in July following a falling out with his mother. During his stay, he slept on the couch in the den. The victim slept on futon in the living room.
Gilbert testified her daughter would often follow Blanchard around as if she had a “crush” on him. However, the girl dramatically changed her personality and she believed the attitude change was due to the assault.
Gilbert testified the girl began telling Blanchard to leave, calling him names and cut up pictures of him.
But, Blanchard would later take the stand and tell the jury the reason the girl began to act out was because she was “jealous.” He had become more comfortable around the house and began to let female friends visit. He also testified the girl when watching TV had said she had engaged in sexual activity like the people she saw because she was trying to impress the older children in the room. In addition he called the allegations, “a big organized lie” concocted by her family.
After Gilbert learned of the incident she took her daughter to a local doctor. He conducted an external exam of the girl, but was unable to find any damages from the assault since it had reportedly occurred two years prior.
Also to take the stand was the victim who is now 12 years old. She gave intimate details of the alleged incident, but was unable to recall everything since she had forgotten some of the information. However, she told jurors after the incident she was “afraid” to sleep alone and then slept with her mother. She also told the jury she didn’t tell of the alleged assault because she was afraid she would get into trouble and admitted she knew it was wrong but feared everyone would think it was her fault.
The jury deliberated about an hour before returning with the not guilty verdict. As soon as it was read, Blanchard exclaimed “Yes!” and began clapping his hands together loudly. The victim and her family sat in silence.