VALPARAISO, Ind. (STMW) — It took the jury about three hours to find Christopher W. Truman guilty of all nine felonies related to him molesting four boys.
As Porter County Superior Judge Mary Harper read each guilty verdict, the 39-year-old Portage man raised his eyebrows in apparent disbelief as the victims’ families and his family both showed tears.
“I’m very surprised,” said defense attorney Larry Rogers, who added his client plans to appeal.
At his Feb. 25 sentencing, Truman faces up to 50 years in prison on each of three counts of Class A felony child molesting.
He also faces up to 20 years on one count of Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor, up to eight years on each of two charges of Class C felony sexual misconduct with a minor and up to eight years on three charges of Class C felony child molesting.
Porter County Deputy Cheryl Polarek portrayed Truman in closing arguments as a serial molester who started with a boy who looked up to him as a father figure and moved on to the sons and stepsons of school friends after that first victim turned 18 and moved away.
She acknowledged the conflicts in the boys’ testimony while focusing on their demeanor during the taxing process of testifying, and she denied any conspiracy existed because the adults were friends until accusations came out on Aug. 4, 2012.
“It’s not reasonable for these kids to make all this up,” Polarek said. “Truman preyed on each kid differently because each kid presented himself differently.”
There were consistencies in their testimonies, such as their ages, Truman’s penchant for oral sex and visits to a local hotel to swim and watch wrestling.
Rogers focused on what he called an incomplete investigation based solely on inconsistent stories from four young men.
The Porter County Sheriff’s Police never did anything to corroborate the boys’ accusations, including that the first one’s mother and uncle dismissed his claims of molestation and another said his father walked in during a sex act.
The detective working the case left to work for the DEA, and no one took over or continued the investigation, Rogers said.
He also emphasized the unlikely parts of the boys’ stories, including molestations happening thousands of times and hotel visits happening hundreds of times.
“This case ought to scare everybody in this courtroom, ought to scare everybody in this courthouse, because if it can happen to Christopher Truman, it could happen to anyone,” Rogers said.
Polarek countered that child molesting cases have the least amount of physical evidence due to the private nature of the crime.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)