Jurors spent about one hour deliberating before returning a verdict in the trial of an Adairsville man charged with 18 counts of sex crimes against children Wednesday afternoon.
Bobby Charles Reed, 58, was ultimately found guilty of nine charges in Bartow Superior Court, including five counts of child molestation, one count of criminal attempt to commit child molestation and three counts of sexual battery against a child under the age of 16.
He was found not guilty of four counts of child molestation, three counts of sexual battery against a child under the age of 16 and two counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes.
“These are, of course, particularly hard cases, all criminal cases are,” Georgia Superior Court Senior Judge Shepherd L. Howell told jurors at the end of the trial, “but child molestation cases are particularly tough.”
Testimony was heard Tuesday and Wednesday from several witnesses, including two juveniles who were ages 9 and 7, respectively, when Reed allegedly committed the offenses against them in August 2014.
Jurors found Reed guilty of touching the genitals, thighs, buttocks and breasts of the older child, as well as asking the minor to show him her bra and kissing her on the lips “with the intent to arouse the sexual desires of the accused.” Jurors, however, did not find Reed guilty of committing any offenses against the younger child.
The incidents are believed to have occurred between August 15-17, 2014, at what was then the Magnolia Place Apartments. Adairsville Police Department personnel detained Reed on Aug. 18.
“I am not going to stand here and tell you that children never lie,” Cherokee Judicial Circuit Senior Assistant District Attorney Sharon M. Fox said in the State’s closing argument. “When kids lie, just like adults, they have a reason to lie. What reason would these little girls have to make up a story against Mr. Reed?”
According to testimony from the two minors, Reed gave them popsicles and described them as his “secret buddies” who weren’t supposed to tell anyone about what went on inside his apartment.
“The bait allowed them to put their little child guard down,” Fox said. “Those popsicles weren’t free. They came at the cost of being victimized.”
The State also presented testimony from one of Reed's neighbors, who claimed she saw one of the children enter his apartment unaccompanied by another adult. Jurors were also read a handwritten letter by the older juvenile, describing the abuse she experienced at the hands of the defendant.
At a pre-trial hearing Monday, Fox said the prosecutors were willing to negotiate a plea deal with the defendant, which would've seen Reed receive a 20-year sentence with seven years to serve in confinement and the remainder to be served on probation. In the wake of Reed's conviction, however, Fox said the State will likely be pursuing a harsher sentence.
Reed was taken into custody after the verdict was read. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Howell on March 26.