Jury acquits Damore of rapePublished: 8/11/17 @ 10:55
Tears broke out on both sides of the courtroom Friday as Eric Damore was found not guilty of rape by a jury.
Damore, 44, of Boardman, was accused of raping a 12-year-old relative with special needs in October 2014.
A Mahoning County grand jury indicted Damore last year on charges of rape and gross sexual imposition. He faced a penalty of life imprisonment.
The accuser’s family appeared distraught as Judge Anthony M. D’Apolito read the jury’s verdict in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. Damore also broke into tears.
In his closing argument Thursday, defense attorney John Juhasz cast doubts on the testimony of the accuser and told the jury reasonable doubts remained.
Jennifer McLaughlin, an assistant county prosecutor, argued the key fact, the claim that Damore placed his mouth on the accuser’s genitals, remained constant from the accuser’s initial allegations to investigators to her testimony in court.
It made no sense, McLaughlin argued, the accuser would make up a lie to frame a relative she adored.
The jury apparently required more evidence, and investigators never collected physical evidence.
Read more about the case in Saturday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.