The victim and the accused painted jurors two starkly different pictures Tuesday about what happened on the night of July 13, 2007, when a Williamsburg man allegedly sexually abused an 11-year-old girl.
The accused admits that he “accidentally” touched the girl’s crotch while the two of them and her five-year-old brother were wrestling, but the victim told jurors the touching was in no way accidental.
Arvil Lee Croley, 55, of Williamsburg, stood trial Tuesday in Whitley Circuit Court on allegations of first-degree sexual abuse.
According to his indictment, he allegedly had sexual contact with a girl, who was 11 years old at the time.
The four-woman, eight-man jury deliberated over an hour before a announcing that they were unable to reach a verdict, and Judge Paul Braden declared a mistrial meaning that the case will have to be tried again.
Both sides agree that the victim’s mother had left her and her younger brother at the accused’s home the evening the incident happened while she went to work at a local restaurant on third shift.
At the time the victim’s mother and Croley were dating.
The victim testified that after her brother had gone to sleep, Croley came out of his bedroom and offered her $40 to take off her clothes.
“He said I’d actually have to take my clothes off in front of him if I wanted the money,” she told jurors.
When she didn’t, he went back into his bedroom and came out naked and sat there for five to 10 minutes.
She testified that he pulled a sheet off of her, and “laid down on top of me and started to move back and forth sort of.”
She said he came back out a third time and took her inside his bedroom where he lifted her shirt and bra and started kissing her chest.
“He took my hand and made me touch his thing,” she told jurors. “I was basically crying the whole time.”
The victim testified that after the incident, she went back out to the living room where she laid down, and didn’t tell anyone until months later.
The victim said that she and her mother were driving down the road and when her mother asked why she didn’t like Croley, she told her about the incident.
During his motion for a directed verdict, defense attorney Paul Croley told Judge Paul Braden that the victim’s accounts were “riddled with inconsistencies.”
Defense attorney’s played a recorded interview for the jury that the victim gave to an examiner in London shortly after the allegation surfaced in March 2008.
In the video, the girl recounts similar allegations against Arvil Croley, but her account on whether some of the incidents happened on the couch or love seat in the living room vary.
During the video taped interview, the girl makes no mention about Arvil Croley taking her back to his bedroom.
She repeats allegations that Arvil Croley offered her money to take off her clothes, then came back to the living room naked and asked her if she wanted to learn how to have sex.
She said that he pulled her shirt and bra up and then her shorts and underwear down and started “touching me.”
Later he lay on top of her, she said during the interview.
Croley took the stand Tuesday afternoon in his own defense.
He told jurors that he and the victim’s mother began dating about four months before the incident began, and that she and her two children had stayed over at his home.
On the night of the incident, Croley said he and the victim’s five-year-old brother had stayed outside on the porch while the victim went inside to take a bath.
When he and the boy went inside, the girl was sitting in the floor watching a video of the Lion King.
Croley said he and the boy started playing with hot wheels and then the boy started wrestling with him.
He testified that at one point the girl jumped on him as well, and when he reached out blindly to push her off that he accident touched her vaginal area.
Croley said the girl and the boy went back to watching television, and he eventually went to his bedroom to go to sleep and told them to turn off the television and the lights when they went to bed.
Croley said that he never left his bedroom until the victim’s mother arrived the next morning.
Nothing was said about the wrestling incident until Croley was interviewed by police months later.
Croley said he and the victim’s mother stopped dating, but stayed in touch after that until March 2008. During that time he had reconciled with his wife, who moved back home.
Croley said that he didn’t learn about the allegations until May 2008 when he was contacted by social services.
“I told them that it wasn’t so,” he testified.
Croley was later contacted by Kentucky State Police Detective Stacy Anderkin, and agreed to meet with her without a lawyer present.
“I didn’t feel like I had done anything wrong that’s why I didn’t bring a lawyer,” Croley testified.
Croley said that the only time he could have touched the girl was when he and the two kids were wrestling on the floor.
He said the mistake he made was wrestling with two kids that weren’t his, and that touching the girl wasn’t intentional.
“This was an accident that is what I tried to tell her and social services,” Croley testified.
Croley said that was what he was referring to in a taped statement that he made to Anderkin when he said he was sorry about what had happened.
“I haven’t sexually abused anybody,” he testified. “I did touch her, but it wasn’t intentional. We were wrestling.”
He denied ever offering the girl money to take her clothes off.
Croley said he was worried about the embarrassment the allegations could cause his family if they were made public. He said that since the allegations were published in a newspaper after he was indicted, he has lost his job and hasn’t been able to find one since.
(Editor’s note: The News Journal doesn’t publish the names of victim’s in rape or sexual assault cases or information that could directly identify the victim, such as a parent’s name.)