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Family backs rape suspect at trial

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Two sons and the wife of Kenneth Jones testified Friday that allegations of child molestation and rape that wrecked his life are bogus.

Four years ago, a family member told friends at her high school that Jones had forced her into sexual intercourse -- damning accusations that eventually made their way to Snellville police detectives.

The alleged victim has since recanted those statements, including three times under oath during testimony in two different trials. Earlier this week, the woman, now 19, testified she concocted the story because Jones wasn't paying her enough attention.

Prosecutors have hinted the alleged victim was forced and bribed by family members to not incriminate Jones.

Jones' wife of 26 years, Pamela Jones, testified Friday that since he was jailed four years ago, he's been able to keep a job for only two months. Employers have become privy to the case and fired him, she said.

"I would like to see for (the case) to be over ... because it's not true," said Pamela Jones, who supports her family on wages she earns at a Gwinnett-based recovery center.

Jay Hughes, Assistant District Attorney, pointed out that Pamela Jones has had ample opportunity to influence the witness, even driving her to the courthouse recently.

But Jones was adamant she hasn't discussed the case with the alleged victim since a Magistrate Court judge ordered her not to four years ago.

Kenneth Jones formerly worked two full-time jobs, heading a security department at a recovery center -- a job he'd held for eight years, managing a force of 12 officers -- while keeping another gig at a Snellville group home.

The allegations cost him a month in jail in October 2005. Upon his release, he resigned from the recovery center, his wife said.

Jones is charged with aggravated sexual battery, aggravated sodomy, child molestation, incest and rape. He faces the possibility of multiple life sentences, said his attorney, Lawrence Lewis.

A conviction on the rape charge alone would cost Jones at least a decade in prison, as the case was initiated prior to a 2006 change in state law, Lewis said.

Two of Jones' sons, both of whom are in police custody on unrelated cases, testified to their father's innocence Friday.

Terrence Jones said the alleged victim informed him that she'd made the bogus accusations in 2008, and he urged her to go back to authorities.

"I asked her why she did it -- I told her it was wrong," he testified.

At an earlier trial last month, the alleged victim refused to testify and was jailed on felony contempt charges for two days. Prosecutors have granted her full immunity, meaning her testimony cannot be used against her to file new charges, such as false informing.

The earlier trial was discontinued but not declared a mistrial because the jury had not been sworn, Hughes said.

Medical exams at the time of the accusations produced no signs of sexual assault, though the girl said Jones had raped her at least 10 times, Lewis said. The alleged victim remained in the custody of the Division of Family and Children Services until she turned 18.

Presiding Superior Court Senior Judge Fred Bishop released the jury after testimony concluded late Friday. Closing arguments are expected to commence Monday morning.