Closing Arguments In Shifflet Trial Underway

By
Megan Moseley

Dateline
Updated Thu, Mar 14, 2013 6:01 pm

UPDATE 4:30 p.m. The defense gave its closing arguments Thursday afternoon in the trial of a Glouster man facing five counts of sexual molestation.

After almost two weeks of trial, the case of Thomas Shifflet, 76, is coming to an end.

Shifflet's attorney John Lavelle started his closing argument by saying, “if there's one thing that's consistent, it's that these stories have changed."

Lavelle also tried to poke holes in the prosecution's evidence, which relies heavily upon the testimonies of the alleged victims.

"We're dealing with children. Children that believe in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny," he said.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn gave his rebuttal after Lavelle made his final argument saying, if anything, the slight changes in the childrens' stories exhibit their truth.

"If they were lying, they would have all had the same story," he said.

Shifflet is being charged with three counts of gross sexual imposition, one count of sexual imposition, and one count of rape.

Jurors will begin deliberations tomorrow.


The trial of a Glouster man accused of sexually molesting five young girls is entering its final phase before jurors begin their deliberations.

In their closing arguments Thursday prosecutors outlined the five separate counts against Thomas Shifflet, 76.

Prosecuting attorney Rob Driscoll pointed out that the times witnesses altered their stories came only after “repeated questioning” from the defense.

With no DNA evidence or adult witnesses the prosecution’s case relies solely on the testimony of the alleged victim’s themselves.

The defense has been trying to call into the question the credibility of the alleged victims during the cross examination of the witnesses.

Driscoll told the jurors that it doesn't matter "who was where when it happened", "the exact time it happened", or "who was all there" since the victims were children who were between the ages of three and 13 at the time of the alleged molestations.

"What is memorable to these children is that they were molested," he said.

Shifflet is facing three counts of gross sexual imposition, one count of sexual imposition and one count of rape.

The defense is scheduled to give their closing arguments Thursday afternoon.

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