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Defendant acquitted of final charge during May 8 trial

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FARMINGTON — A Texas man has been cleared of 20 felony child rape charges after 19 counts were dismissed by the San Juan County District Attorney's Office and a jury acquitted him of a failure to register as a sex offender charge. 

Timothy Dennis was charged on June 5, 2015, in district court with 10 counts of criminal sexual contact of a child, six counts of criminal sexual penetration of a child, three counts of bribery of a witness and one count of failure to register as a sex offender, accord to court records.

He was accused of sexually molesting and raping a Kirtland girl during the summer of 2013, according to court documents. The girl was 16 years old when the charges were filed, according to The Daily Times archives.

Eric Morrow, Dennis' attorney, said his client had been held in the San Juan County Adult Detention Center from March 2015 until earlier this month. 

The D.A.'s Office filed a motion to dismiss 19 of the 20 charges in district court on May 16, according to court documents.

That followed an April 20th hearing on a motion filed by Morrow to exclude the female's testimony. Judge John Dean Dr. signed an order to exclude the female's testimony on May 4.

"I think he was falsely accused of very serious crimes," Morrow said. "Unfortunately, it put my guy in deep trouble."

San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said the DA's Office wouldn't have filed the case and pursued the charges if prosecutors didn't believe the female's testimony was credible.

There were seven interviews scheduled between the female and the defense from May 2016 and April. Four of them were rescheduled or canceled at her request, according to court documents.

After a four-hour interview on April 6, the female said she was unable to provide a witness statement going forth, according to court documents.

"The victim's statements made in this case are legally insufficient," Dean wrote in his order. "The defendant has been substantially prejudiced by the victim's failure to give a legally sufficient statement."

The DA's Office found there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a trial for the 19 charges with the exclusion of the female's testimony, according to court documents. 

For the 20th charge, a jury found Dennis not guilty of failing to register as a sex offender during a one-day trial on May 8.

Morrow said the jury took about 30 minutes to acquit him, and Dennis was released from the county jail later that day.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

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