Jury again considers child sex-assault case
A Mesa County jury heard five hours of closing arguments Tuesday as prosecutors for the second time in six months aimed to convince a body of local residents that a 69-year-old man had a four-year sexual relationship with a teenage girl he once allegedly called his “little wife.”
Rodney Eddy, of Mesa, listened to three weeks worth of testimony on topics such as sex toys and erectile dysfunction as prosecutors sought to prove 16 felonies against him, including sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, identical counts alleging a pattern of abuse, in addition to charges of sexual exploitation of child.
Starting in the summer of 2003, prosecutors allege, Eddy engaged in repeated sexual acts with a then-13-year-old girl, and such acts continued through January 2008.
The girl went to authorities in May that year with sex-assault allegations against Eddy, a church deacon, former teacher and retired police officer.
The girl described in detail where dozens of sex toys could be found in Eddy’s home in addition to hundreds of images of pornography and child pornography.
Among those were several photos of the alleged victim created and stored on Eddy’s home computer in October 2007, according to an investigator.
“To believe that she was in on some sort of premeditated thing to target Rodney Eddy would mean she’s planting things to get him in trouble back in 2007,” Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Savage told jurors.
A total of 564 images and 141 movies showing “young girls” in sexual situations were recovered from Eddy’s home computer, according to testimony.
After the girl came forward, investigators listened in as the girl placed a phone call to Eddy, who initially acknowledged the relationship. When she asked Eddy if he missed “making love,” he replied, “Well, I think so, yeah.”
Savage suggested Eddy, a veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, suspected something wasn’t right with the conversation when his tone changed, and Eddy eventually denied the relationship, suggesting they meet in person because the telephone conversation was “not secure.”
While a mixture of DNA profiles matching the girl and Eddy was found on one sex toy recovered from Eddy’s home, his defense argued it wasn’t proof of a sexual assault.
“It doesn’t mean the DNA was put there at the same time,” attorney Andrew Noland told jurors.
While claiming a prolonged sexual relationship with Eddy, the girl told investigators she couldn’t recall any distinctive features, such as birthmarks or defects, on Eddy’s body.
Eddy’s upper-right thigh includes a scar suffered in combat during his military service in the Vietnam War, Noland said.
“She could draw a diagram of everything in his house, but couldn’t show where his scar was,” the attorney said.
“The scar that was intended to end Mr. Eddy’s life 40 years ago should save him here today.”
Eddy’s defense also argued he was incapable of sexual intercourse, because he had been diagnosed with erectile dysfunction long before the start of the alleged assaults in 2003.
Prosecutors, though, pointed to Eddy’s multiple prescriptions for Viagra and Levitra in countering that claim.
“The pills support that fact he was still sexually active,” Savage told the jury.
The jury won’t start deliberations until Thursday because of a prior commitment today for one member of the jury panel and an unrelated prior commitment for the judge, court officials said.
In February, another jury was deadlocked after deliberating on 16 sex-assault counts, but it returned not-guilty verdicts on 17 other counts.
Eddy was convicted during his first trial on a lone count of felony obscenity.