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Jury finds Albert Carlisle not guilty in child molestation 'case within a case'

A Wilkes County man was found not guilty of child molestation in a jury trial last week.

After a full day of testimony before Judge Roger W. Dunaway Jr., the jury found Albert E. Carlisle, 46, not guilty of child molestation in Wilkes County Superior Court Wednesday.

Carlisle was arrested in June 2009 and charged with two counts of child molestation in relation to indecent acts allegedly perpetrated at his home on two children between January 2007 and May 2009. He was charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted felon after a handgun was found during a search in June 2009. A Wilkes Grand Jury indicted him on all charges in February

2011.

During testimony before the jury, the alleged victims testified both on video tape and in person, as did GBI investigator Tony Williamson and Wilkes Sheriff’s Office Investigator Bud Harrison. The victims said that Carlisle had “fooled around” with them and they were to told to write letters with more specific details, but the details varied and conflicted over time, and one recanted the accusations.

The troubled history of this household, Senior Assistant District Attorney Bill Doupé said, made this “a case within a case.” He did not charge Carlisle with some of the victims’ allegations, he said, but only with what Carlisle himself admitted to investigators under questioning.

For the defense, attorney Michelle Harrison said that the state had not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. “We know Al got drunk and fought with his wife Barbara and called her names, and that somebody had these [victims] write these letters,” she said. But, she added, there is no physical evidence of sexual activity, no DNA, and the victims told three different versions of what happened.

After deliberations, the jury found Carlisle not guilty of child molestation.

In court last week, Carlisle pleaded guilty of possession of a firearm by a felon, and of disorderly conduct. Judge Dunaway sentenced him to five years with two years in confinement on the weapons charge, and 12 months in confinement, to run concurrently, on the disorderly conduct charge.

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