Robert Glenn Ward was to be released from an eight-month stay in jail Thursday afternoon after a Murray County jury found him not guilty of two counts of child molestation that involved allegations concerning pre-teen girls.
Ward was 55 and living in Chatsworth when the Murray County Sheriff’s Office charged him last June. Contacted Thursday, his attorney, Richard Murray, said Ward always maintained his innocence and was deeply hurt by the consequences of the charges, including at least temporarily losing custody of his daughter while he was in jail without bond awaiting trial.
The trial began Monday in Murray County Superior Court before Judge Jack Partain.
Murray said there were numerous inconsistencies in the alleged victims’ stories. He said the charges stemmed from two separate incidents — one in which one of his daughter’s friends accused him of kissing her on the neck, and another in which a young girl accused him of lying beside her in an inappropriate way. Murray said Ward denied either incident happened.
District Attorney Bert Poston said he understands the case was a difficult one.
“Obviously, we are disappointed with the verdict and believe the evidence was sufficient to establish guilt,” he said. “Specifically, we believed that there was no other logical explanation, other than guilt, for two different unrelated victims to make similar accusations against him.
“However, we recognize that these cases are difficult; we appreciate the time and attention the jury gave to the case, and we respect their verdict.”
Murray said there were many details that weakened the claims against Ward. For example, claims one of the alleged victims made about alleged abuse by another individual turned out to be false, Murray said. He said that in the other incident, the girl gave a description of her alleged perpetrator that was markedly different from Ward’s appearance.