Jury delivers mixed verdict in sexual assault case

A New London jury found Thursday that 41-year-old Harold L. “Monty” Waites was not guilty of the most serious sexual assault allegations he was charged with, but rather, was guilty of a lesser degree of sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor.

Despite his partial success at trial, Waites, of New London, still faces up to 50 years in prison when Judge Arthur C. Hadden sentences him on May 17.

The state had alleged that after a night of drinking at a friend’s house in New London on March 26, 2011, Waites went into the bedroom where two girls, ages 9 and 10, were sleeping, and touched their private parts.

The six-member jury had started deliberations late Wednesday and asked to hear playback of testimony from New London Police Officer Deana Nott, who was the first officer on the scene, and from one of the victims.

The jury found Waites not guilty of two counts of first-degree sexual assault, which involved so-called digital penetration. They found him guilty of fourth-degree sexual assault, which involves two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, and two counts of risk of injury to a minor.

Prosecutor Lawrence J. Tytla declined to comment, except to thank jurors for their service. Defense attorney W. Theodore Koch III could not immediately be reached to comment.

In taking the case to trial, Waites had rejected the state’s offer to plead guilty in exchange for an eight-year prison sentence. He could be sentenced to 20 years for each count of fourth-degree sexual assault and faces up to five years for each count of risk of injury to a minor.

The jury had listened to testimony from the two girls, police officers who worked the case, forensic experts, a clinical psychologist and Waites himself.

Waites, who was arrested immediately after the incident, remains incarcerated in lieu of a $99,000 cash bond.

— Karen Florin

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