Victim denies abuse occurred in molestation trial

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Protected by immunity, a family member of child molestation suspect Kenneth Anthony Jones told a second jury in as many months Tuesday that Anthony never sexually assaulted her.

Jones faces potentially damaging charges -- aggravated sexual battery, aggravated sodomy, child molestation, incest and rape -- based on statements the family member told authorities four years ago, when she was 15.

At the outset of another trial last month, the alleged victim refused to testify and was jailed on felony contempt charges for two days, said Jones' defense attorney, Lawrence Lewis.

She finally took the stand Oct. 22 and denied that any abuse had occurred, Lewis said. The prosecution's case rests solely on her previous statements to police and no medical evidence exists, he said.

Testifying before a new jury Tuesday afternoon, the woman, now 19, sang the same tune. Prosecutors have granted her full immunity, meaning her testimony cannot be used against her to file new charges, such as false reporting of a crime.

"It really never happened -- he never had sexual contact with me," she testified.

The allegations cost Jones, a Snellville resident working as a security guard at a mental health facility, nearly a month in jail in October 2005. The alleged victim testified she'd concocted the story because Jones and his wife weren't paying her enough attention and she wished to live in a foster home, she testified.

She first spun the bogus story for friends at South Gwinnett High School, then school administrators and later Snellville police detectives, she said.

"I didn't feel like I got the attention I wanted," she testified. "I thought ... I would go live with somebody else and the case would go away."

Jones eventually posted $27,800 bond and was released from the Gwinnett County Jail. He remains free on bond.

In light of the allegations, the alleged victim remained in the custody of the Division of Family and Children Services until she turned 18.

During questioning from a prosecutor, she denied she'd been offered financial incentives to not testify, or that other family members had talked her out of incriminating Jones.

The earlier trial was discontinued but not declared a mistrial because the jury had not been sworn, said Assistant District Attorney Jay Hughes. Testimony is expected to resume today.