A 44-year-old Kentucky man was arrested in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas Monday and escorted to jail after Judge Steven Beathard found him guilty of having sexual contact with a 13-year-old and possessing methamphetamine.
Judge Beathard revoked bond for Richard A. Davidson, who was charged in December with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a third-degree felony, and aggravated possession of drugs (methamphetamine), a fifth-degree felony.
Davidson is now being held the Fayette County Jail until his sentencing hearing Aug. 7.
Davidson’s defense counsel requested a bench trial in the case presented Monday before Judge Beathard, and following the presentation of evidence, the defense ultimately made a motion for Davidson’s acquittal on the charges. Judge Beathard overruled the motion for acquittal.
Evidentiary testimony in the case was given by two Fayette County Sheriff’s Office deputies and a detective who were called to a home on US Route 22 Dec. 1, 2016 in reference to a sex offense.
Detective Ed Ward with the sheriff’s office testified that he investigated the incident and took photos of the household. These photos were presented as evidentiary exhibits and purported to show the interior of the 13-year-old’s bedroom.
The state argued that upon entering the 13-year-old’s bedroom, a large stuffed elephant in the room and stickers on the wall should have raised further questions in the defendant’s mind as to the age of the female he was meeting for the first time. In fact, argued Fayette County Prosecutor Jess Weade for the state, Davidson was worried about the minor’s age and repeatedly asked her questions about her age.
The defense argued that the 13-year-old repeatedly told Davidson she was 19-years-old.
According to court testimony, Davidson and the minor met online through a website described by Judge Beathard as being one where “anonymous people go to talk about engaging in sexual activities.”
Being reckless in regard to the minor’s age is an element in being found guilty of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. As the bench trial proceeded, the defense counsel argued that Davidson was not acting recklessly in meeting with the minor because Davidson thought she was 19, but Judge Beathard said Davidson did act recklessly, and that such recklessness began when Davidson first logged into the website.
Testimony in the bench trial revealed that Davidson is a military veteran who drove more than 100 miles from Indiana, where he resided at the time, to meet with the minor. He arrived sometime around midnight at the minor’s grandmother’s house on US 22. Upon arriving at the residence, the minor instructed Davidson to park at the end of the long driveway and walk to the house. Once inside the two proceeded to the minor’s bedroom, had a discussion, took off their clothing and engaged in sexual activity until the minor’s grandmother appeared in the room, ended the activity and called police.
Davidson gave a voluntary written statement to police and wrote that he was aware he had driven to the grandmother’s house, a fact that Weade said should have been another indicator that she was not 19-years-old.
The defense counsel argued the minor “set a trap” for Davidson and said that he did “all of the due diligence he could do” at that time but that “we don’t live in a society where we have to show identification” before engaging in sexual conduct with someone.
In addition, after Davidson’s vehicle was impounded from the scene of the sex crime, Ward testified that a glass “crack pipe” and 2.13 grams of methamphetamine were found during a search. The defense argued that Davidson’s vehicle had been left unsecured to the public and that anyone, including upset family members of the minor, could have placed the drug items in the vehicle.
Following the presentation of evidence and closing arguments, Judge Beathard deliberated for a short time before returning to the bench to deliver the guilty verdict on both charges.
Judge Beathard said Davidson now faces a presumptive prison sentence.
Reach Ashley by calling her at (740) 313-0355 or by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton