After hearing testimony all day, it took jurors less than two hours to convict Elvin Lamey on child sex abuse charges Monday evening.
Lamey, 26, of Howard, faced 34 counts of child rape, incest, corruption of minors, indecent assault and other charges. Guilty was the common refrain as the jury forewoman read the verdicts to Judge Bradley P. Lunsford. He was found guilty on all but 10.
The charges stem from incidents involving three young family members. Lamey lived with the family for around 5 years, and he began abusing the eldest child when he was 4 or 5 years old and the youngest 2 or 3.
In her opening statements, District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said child molesters are the worst type of criminals because they betray the trust of everyone around them, even those closest to them.
“The worst betrayal is when they’re actually a member of that family,” she said.
The children’s mother was the first witness called by the prosecution. She and Lamey were close, she said, and the children loved Lamey when he lived with them. Everything seemed to be going great, she said.
“He was their favorite person,” she said.
She discovered the abuse in July 2012, when she found two of the children underneath blankets in the home touching each other inappropriately. They told her that Lamey touched them in the same way, she said. She “flipped out” at first, may have swore and put them in a corner for “two seconds” before she realized she was punishing them for something that wasn’t their fault.
Deborah Lux, Lamey’s public defender, countered that the reaction of the mother when she discovered the abuse could have affected what the children told investigators.
“She jumped to conclusions and her reaction caused the children to say certain things and that caused the snowball to begin to roll,” Lux said.
The children were interviewed by a Centre County Children and Youth Services case worker, a state trooper and a forensic investigator after that incident. All three testified that the children indicated Lamey had touched them and also had sex with them involuntarily.
All three children also testified via videoconference from the third floor of the courthouse. It was determined before the trial that taking the stand and seeing Lamey would cause distress to the youngsters. Besides the difficulty of talking about the situation, the children’s mother said they had “conflicting” feelings about Lamey and still care for him.
Now 8, 7 and 5 years old, each child said Lamey repeatedly touched them inappropriately. One child expressed embarrassment at having to testify. Another said what Lamey did “hurt.”
Besides the testimonies, Parks Miller said the commonwealth had something much more “compelling.” She pointed to confessions Lamey made to the case worker and police. Trooper Brian Wakefield, a criminal investigator, interviewed Lamey twice. The first time he maintained his innocence, Wakefield said. The second time, Wakefield testified that Lamey admitted to abusing two of the children and that he knew it was wrong and he “couldn’t control himself.”
Lux argued the confessions were out of “desperation, confusion, despair even” that no one believed his side of the story. There were also inconsistencies in the accounts the children told investigators about the number of incidents, she said.
In her closing statement, Parks Miller said the discrepancies were because of the age of the children assaulted, the time span between interviews with investigators, and also discounted that his confessions were to merely to get the police off his back because of the “gruesome detail” he provided in the accounts.
Lamey declined to take the stand on his own behalf.
Lamey was free on unsecured bail before the trial but after the verdict was read, Parks Miller recommended that be changed to $500,000 straight bail. Lunsford approved and Lamey was taken into custody. Sentencing is tentatively scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 26.