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Curran Kirchner acquitted of final sex abuse charge in county court

02/01/2016 5:46 PM |

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The criminal court building at the County Center.

Not guilty.

That was the final verdict a Suffolk County jury reached for Curran Lee Kirchner, a Wading River man arrested in the summer of 2014 and charged with 10 counts of sexually abusing two women he knew personally.

Mr. Kirchner was found not guilty of 9 of the 10 counts by the five-man, seven-woman jury last week. But at the time, the jury was unable to come to an unanimous agreement on the third charge, a felony charge of first-degree criminal sexual act that allegedly took place in May 2010.

Mr. Kirchner was acquitted of the last charge Monday.

After the verdict was read Monday afternoon, a large smile spread across Mr. Kirchner’s face, the first sign of emotion he showed all day. Had he been found guilty, he faced six to 25 years in prison.

“We’re very pleased with the jury’s decision,” David Geller, Mr. Kirchner’s Legal Aid defense attorney, said. “We’re very pleased that they took their time deliberating — it did take several days — and examining everything that was put into evidence by the prosecution.”

At the same time, a relative of one of the women who accused him of abuse immediately began crying and left the courtroom with a second relative. Judge Martin Efman released Mr. Kirchner from prison, where he had been held without bail since his arrest.

Mr. Kirchner left the courtroom that day accompanied by a handful of people, including Mr. Geller.

The jury’s final decision came after nearly five days of deliberations. On Monday, the jury sent two notes asking to rehear testimony. The first note asked to hear a portion of one of the victim’s testimony and a second note, which was sent an hour and a half later, asked to hear the testimony in full, which took the stenographer about an hour to read.

While prosecutor John Cortes declined to comment on the verdict, Suffolk County District Attorney spokesman Robert Clifford said the prosecutors “believed there was more than sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt on every charge in the indictment – charges that said the women were incapable of consent because they were physically helpless.”

Mr. Geller said he believed the fact that the jury took its time to consider the credibility of the evidence is what allowed Mr. Kirchner to walk free Monday evening.

“It was a hard case to try,” Mr. Geller added. “The D.A.’s office did their job, and I had to do my job. Fortunately for Mr. Kirchner, the jury agreed with us.”

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