On Jan. 28, a jury found Scott Muir not guilty of 19 charges relating to the alleged sexual assault of five young girls. Some say that the verdict was based on the inconsistencies of the victims' testimony. Some say the verdict was a result of the time lapse in reporting the abuses. Attorney William A. Rota stated there was overcrowding at the school and no one except the alleged victims saw anything. Attorney Rota also gives credit to Mr. Muir for his convincing testimony.

It is a fact that young victims of sexual abuse, in many cases, do not report the abuse as it is happening. In fact, in a lot of cases, it may be many years before a disclosure is made. It is also a fact that there may be inconsistencies due to the amount of time that has passed since the abuse occurred. Attorney Rota's statement as to no one seeing anything is in direct contrast to what many at the school viewed as inappropriate, the placing of young girls on Mr. Muir's lap. If any abuses occurred behind closed doors in Mr. Muir's office, I wouldn't expect anyone to see them.

Five young women gave testimony of alleged sexual assaults that they endured at a very young age. Their allegations had resulted in 19 charges going forward. I find it appalling that a jury came back with a verdict on all 19 charges in 94 minutes. For this jury to be impartial and professional, it should have taken much longer to deliberate. How could 19 charges be decided in just 94 minutes? Has this jury only considered Mr.


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Muir's testimony and ignored the testimony of these five young ladies? I cannot say whether or not Mr. Muir is guilty, but I can say that this jury could not have thoroughly debated all the facts of this case.

I know that it takes a lot of courage to testify in a sexual assault case and I give these young ladies a lot of credit. I hope that they realize that they did the best that they could do and are now able to put this behind them.

ROBERT J. CANALE

Clarksburg