Sex Crimes Cases Results

The below case results were obtained by Attorney Tom Pavlinic while working independently as well as jointly with the Group’s local co-counsel. These cases include not-guilty verdicts, dismissed charges and negotiated pleas attained for prior clients who were facing sexual assault or sexual abuse charges. While the future result of your case cannot be predicted, and not all of our cases have had desirable outcomes, we hope that a review of the below cases illustrates the level of sex crimes criminal defense experience that would be brought into your case.

Below are cases involving clients who have consented to Tom’s sharing factual summaries of their cases.

Maryland Client Accused of Sexual Abuse Against Two Stepdaughters – Not Guilty

State: Maryland
Court: Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County
Judge: Christine M. Celeste
Case Name: State v B.C.
Lead Counsel: Thomas A. Pavlinic
Co-Counsel: Charlotte Weinstein
Verdict Date: April 29, 2024

Jury Verdict – Not Guilty on All Counts

B was accused of multiple sexual offenses in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, Maryland. B has given us permission to share his story so that it may help others. We will refer to his former wife as “S” and her twin daughters as “H” and “M.” If you would like to speak with B about his experience, please feel free to contact me, and I can make the introduction.

B met S in 2012 when her twin daughters, H and M, were five years old. They married in 2013 and lived together until December 16, 2021. During this eight-year period, B was a father figure to the twins. They enjoyed a positive father-daughter relationship. Although there were signs that the marriage was not strong and starting to fail in 2016, the relationship between B and the girls was positive in every respect.

B again asked for a divorce in October 2021. Three days after S and the girls moved out of the home on December 16, 2021, S sent B a number of text messages imploring him to return to the marriage. She said she loved him, she and the girls needed him and asked B to move in with them at their new apartment after he sold their marital home. These text messages were admitted into evidence during trial. Although there was no hostility, B told S that the marriage was over, and it would not be in anyone’s best interest for him to continue the relationship.

Contrary to her text messages and B’s impeccable 10-year history with the girls, S told investigators a year later in December 2022, she had suspected B of grooming the girls towards the end of their marriage and that she thought she got out of the marriage on time before anything happened. She also testified to her delusion of grooming during trial.

B continued to live in Maryland from the December 16, 2021, separation until he left for Georgia on March 28, 2022. In that three-month period, he maintained a positive relationship with the girls. In fact, on the very day that he departed, H wrote a glowing letter professing her affection and appreciation for B, detailing the many instances of how he had always been there for her. That letter was admitted into evidence at trial.

After B refused to return to the marriage, S’s attitude changed. Over the course of months, beginning January 2022 and on an almost daily basis, S started posting TikTok videos vilifying him, making accusations he was a pedophile and a Mormon believing in polygamy who was grooming her daughters to be his future wives. In reality, B had long since left the Mormon church. The girls brought their mother’s actions to his attention. B confronted S with her accusations, but she never responded.

When S testified at trial, on cross-examination, she began rambling about the teachings of Joseph Smith and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This was all utter nonsense.

Eventually, S successfully convinced her daughters of her delusions that B was “grooming” them. The grooming concept was also inconsistent with B’s interactions with the girls. They were living in Maryland, and he was living in Georgia between March 28, 2022, and late November 2022 when they accused him of sexually abusing them.

In these intervening seven months, both girls sent Father’s Day messages in June 2022. M referring to B in her Father’s Day message as “probably the best dad” she has “ever had,” and how she loves “how honest and true” he is. These texts were also admitted into evidence at trial.

The girls were in daily contact with B and even wanted to visit him in Georgia over the summer. S denied their multiple requests and became infuriated with their persistence. The girls even sent B birthday gifts in September 2022, paid from money they had earned and saved from their lifeguarding jobs over the summer. They even wished him a happy Veterans Day in November 2022. Despite having shared their lives for 10 years, in late November 2022, they blocked B from all contact and made false allegations of sexual abuse against him.

On December 21, 2022, S and the girls gave statements at the Child Advocacy Center. At that time, both girls described incidents of B touching them in an inappropriate sexual way and “grinding” his penis against them on the outside of their clothing.

H indicated how this happened on a beanbag in his office. Yet, when she testified at trial, she gave an entirely different version of that event. She testified she could not remember what she had initially told the investigators, nor could she remember her stepbrother visiting over that Thanksgiving break when this allegedly occurred.

M testified that B touched her breast and buttocks, kissed her with his tongue and would grind his penis against her bottom in the kitchen for a seven year period between 2013 to 2020. No one saw or suspected any inappropriate contact by and between B and the girls. At the end of M’s cross-examination, she testified that despite the alleged abuse, that B was still a better father than her own biological father.

None of this insanity prevented the State from recklessly charging B with multiple felony counts involving both girls. As part of the State’s evidence, it presented the testimony of Crimson Barocca, a social worker. She described the concepts of delayed disclosure and grooming in sex abuse cases.

Ms. Barocca gave biased testimony in an attempt to establish a link between grooming and delayed disclosure. However, on cross-examination, she could not describe the methodology used to distinguish delayed disclosure and grooming from either a fabricated accusation or a false memory. The defense called Dr. David Thompson to testify about how family pressures, parental influence and negative stereotyping could impact this process.

B took the witness stand and testified effectively on his own behalf. He described his personal background, marriage to S, relationship with the girls and how he treated and valued them.

B’s cross-examination ended with the prosecutrix asking a bizarre and totally absurd question. We did not object as we knew the answer would backfire. She asked B to identify the two women who attended the trial, ostensibly to foolishly imply they were his wives. B identified them as his sister and girlfriend. This exchange was highlighted during the defense’s Power Point closing argument.

To wrap up its case, the defense called B’s former wife and their son as character witnesses. They compellingly described B as a caring and dedicated parent.

On April 29, 2024, the jury deliberated for 3 hours and 45 minutes before finding B not guilty on all remaining 8 counts of the original 20-count indictment.. A pretrial motion eliminated 9 counts, and the trial judge dismissed 3 counts after the State concluded its case.

Baltimore Client Accused of Rape – Probation Before Judgment Plea

State: Maryland
Court: Circuit Court for Baltimore County
Trial Judge: Administrative Judge
Case Name: State v A.J.
Lead Counsel: Thomas A. Pavlinic
Co-Counsel: Peter T. McDowell
Plea Date: April 01, 2024

Non-registration Plea – All Charges Placed on Stet Docket

A. J-L lived in an apartment complex where he met C. They engaged in sexual intercourse on a number of occasions and maintained a relationship over a three-month period of time.

A. J-L was accused of rape. On the day of trial, right before jury selection, the State offered A. J-L a plea deal that involved no admission of guilt, a disposition with no finding of guilt, no jail time and no sexual registry.

Virginia Client Accused of Sexual Abuse Against Stepdaughter – Charges Dismissed

State: Commonwealth of Virginia
Court: Circuit Court for Fairfax County
Judge: Administrative Judge
Case Name: Commonwealth v J.M
Lead Counsel: Thomas A. Pavlinic
Co-Counsel: Jonathan Oates
Nolle Prosequi Date: October 13, 2023

All Charges Entered Nolle Prosequi (Dismissed)

Maryland Client Accused of Sexual Abuse Against Biological Daughter – Charges Dismissed

State: Maryland
Court: Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County
Judge: Administrative Judge
Case Name: State v W.A
Lead Counsel: Thomas A. Pavlinic
Nolle Prosequi Date: September 20, 2023

All Charges Entered Nolle Prosequi (Dismissed)

Virginia Client Facing Potential Life Sex Crime Charges – Dismissed

State: Virginia
Court: Circuit Court for the City of Staunton
Trial Judge: Anne F. Reed
Case Name: Commonwealth v D.C
Lead Counsel: Thomas A. Pavlinic
Nolle Prosequi Date: March 08, 2023

All Charges Entered Nolle Prosequi (Dismissed)

David’s now 18-year-old daughter accused him of raping her between November 2016 and February 2017 when she was 11-12 years old. At that time, David had alternating visiting arrangements with her and her half-sister.

In 2020, David discovered that his then 15-year-old daughter was sneaking out in the middle of the night to meet a 29-year-old man whom she had met online. She was able to sneak out of the house and return undetected in the morning. Finally, her sister told her father. He, in turn, promptly reported the behavior to the police.

Bizarrely, during the 2020 investigation, the daughter, angered by the conviction and incarceration of her boyfriend, for the first time, accused her father of raping her. David was arrested a year later in 2021 and charged with three counts of aggravated sexual assault, offenses that would have mandated life in prison had he been convicted.

During the discovery process the State furnished interviews of his daughter and her sister. There was no corroborating medical or DNA evidence. In fact, there was independent evidence that the daughter had made false claims of pregnancy and abuse by others.

David, his wife, and mother made two weekend trips to Maryland to review and assemble evidence. Days were spent preparing a detailed timeline, identifying potential witnesses and accumulating texts, photographs, cards and letters. Consistent with the defense’s reciprocal discovery obligation, this documentary evidence was provided to the Commonwealth Attorney.

To his credit, the Commonwealth Attorney consequently reviewed the evidence and met with the complainant. After considering all the evidence, the charges against David were entered nolle prosequi (dismissed).

Felony Sexual Abuse Case Placed on the Stet Docket

State: Maryland
Court: Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County
Trial Judge: Stacy McCormick
Case Name: State v Z.I
Lead Counsel: Thomas A. Pavlinic
Co-Counsel: Peter T McDowell
Verdict Date: March 06, 2023

All Charges Placed on Stet Docket with No Conditions

Anne Arundel County Jury Finds Client Not Guilty of Sexual Abuse of a Minor

State: Maryland
Court: Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County
Trial Judge: Pamela Alban
Case Name: State v Z.I
Lead Counsel: Thomas A. Pavlinic
Co-Counsel: Peter T McDowell
Verdict Date: February 13, 2023

Jury Verdict – Not Guilty on All Counts

Jury Finds Ohio Client Not Guilty of Sexual Abuse of a 5 year-old

State: Ohio
Court: Tuscarawas County Court of Common Pleas
Trial Judge: Michael J Ernest
Case Name: State v J.M
Lead Counsel: Thomas A. Pavlinic
Co-Counsel: Christopher P DeLaCruz
Verdict Date: October 04, 2022

Jury Verdict – Not Guilty on All Counts

West Virginia Client Not Guilty of Raping 18-yo College Student

State: West Virginia
Court: Circuit Court for Monongalia County
Trial Judge: Cindy Scott
Case Name: State v D.O.
Lead Counsel: Thomas A. Pavlinic
Co-Counsel: Belinda A. Haynie
Date: August 12, 2022

Jury Verdict – Not Guilty on All Counts

David O. was a nationally recruited high school athlete who had scholarship offers from top universities throughout the country. He accepted one from West Virginia University.

As an African-American, he often had his hair braided in twists. One of the local students (complainant) advertised that she provided this service. She had previously done this for other members of the athletic team.

David made arrangements for an afternoon session at his apartment. During that session, he was communicating with his girlfriend, and the complainant was communicating with her boyfriend. After the hair session, when she dropped him off at a dorm, they engaged in a brief romantic interchange.

At dinner that same evening, she told her girlfriends that David was flirting with and hitting on her, and that he made her feel uncomfortable. She did not mention the romantic exchange to her friends.

Later that evening, David called her to complain that the twists were not done properly and were causing headaches. She declined offers from her friends to accompany her back to his apartment when she went back close to midnight to his apartment to fix the twists. At that time, neither his girlfriend nor her boyfriend was made aware of this engagement.
During that session, they engaged in sexual intercourse. She was concerned that this may be made known to other teammates. David assured her that he would not say anything as it would impact his relationship with his girlfriend. Nonetheless, she told one of her friends that she had been raped.

When the complainant talked to the police, she omitted telling them that there was a romantic interchange after the first session. It was David who brought this to the attention of the investigating police officer, who then confronted her. She said in response: “Oh my gosh, I forgot.”

As a result of the charges, the university initiated an investigation. David lost his scholarship and was expelled from school months before the criminal charges were tried.

The jury trial lasted three days. One of the major points that the defense made in its PowerPoint closing was why would the complainant have gone back to his apartment if she thought that his flirting made her feel uncomfortable. We also stressed the question of why she didn’t bring one of her friends along who had offered to accompany her.

David took the witness stand and testified the sexual encounter was consensual. The jury entered a not guilty verdict after approximately three hours of deliberation.

Virginia Client Not Guilty of Aggravated Sexual Battery Against a Minor

State: Virginia
Court: Circuit Court for Louisa County Virginia
Case Name: Commonwealth v C.W.
Lead Counsel: Thomas A. Pavlinic
Co-Counsel: Judson W Collier Jr.
Date: April 09, 2022

Jury Verdict – Not Guilty on All Counts

Our client was found not guilty of aggravated sexual battery after a 3-day jury trial. He was accused of having digitally penetrated his son’s girlfriend’s 11-year-old daughter (complainant) in the early morning hours of April 25, 2020. The stakes in the case were enormous. A conviction for that offense would have resulted in a mandatory life sentence.

The complainant’s mother and our client’s son met in 2018. They had a son together in 2019. He was one-year-old at the time of the alleged offense. The son and mother asked our client to baby-sit for their infant son. Because our client’s wife was out-of-state visiting family, he asked that the complainant also spend the weekend so she could watch her younger brother while our client did work around the house.

The complainant woke up in the middle of the night screaming “Stay away from me. You touched me. I’m not safe. Give me my phone.” Our client immediately got the phone from the charger and handed it to her. She immediately called her mother. She and our client’s son arrived in “13 minutes.”

When the mother entered the house, she walked right by our client, shouting “Don’t say a f—ing word to me.” She then went to her daughter saying “You’re a bad ass. You did exactly what I told you to do. You’re a bad ass. Screw him. Let’s go.”Although the complainant was saying that she had been touched and “it hurt,” she declined to go to the hospital not only that evening, but also the following morning.

Nothing happened for 3 full months. A CPS investigation was opened because of a complaint made against the mother on a different issue, but the alleged abuse was mentioned. When the CPS worker interviewed the mother, she said that her daughter did not say there was any penetration. The following day, CPS set up a medical examination that was normal. The following day, the complainant gave a video-taped interview and described the penetration as “stabbing, burning and like razor blades going inside.”

The trial was scheduled to start in October 2021. However, just a few days before trial the defense learned that the Commonwealth had failed to present Brady evidence. (This is evidence that contradicts allegations made by the complainant or otherwise is helpful to the defense.) We learned from this evidence that 3 witnesses verified that the complainant made statements to them that she denied making when she testified. Of particular evidentiary value was a statement made to the complainant’s cousin that she “thought she was having a nightmare.”

The prosecution presented the testimony of the complainant and her mother. It elected not to present the results of the medical exam that had been conducted at the direction of CPS. The defense capitalized on the omission of this evidence in its closing argument.

The defense presented the testimony of a forensic nurse examiner who testified to the evidence that could have been collected by a timely examination. This would have consisted of the complainant’s narrative, medical history, a physical examination, genital examination, analysis of the hymen, vaginal swabs and tests for potential DNA.

The defense also presented the testimony of the complainant’s cousin and grandmother, who testified about the inconsistent statements that contradicted the complainant’s in-court testimony. Our client’s wife also had contradictory evidence to present.

The client took the witness stand to testify on his own behalf. He was honorably discharged from the Army after 22 years of service and was working for the federal government. He had a clean record and a White House security clearance. He gave his version of the events calmly and effectively.

The jury deliberated for two hours before taking a lunch break. After 30 minutes of post-lunch deliberations, the jury foreman sent a note to the court saying they were dead-locked in their deliberations. The judge announced that there was a substantial division in the the vote. He then brought the jurors back into the courtroom and gave them the Allen charge. This is an instruction that encourages the jurors to listen to their fellow jurors but not to forfeit their own beliefs. 20 minutes later, the jury announced its not-guilty verdict.

Our client endured the humiliation and stress of this indictment for the 20 months between his arrest and the jury’s verdict.

False Child Molestation Charges Dropped Against Our Client, a Former Virginia State Department Official

State: Virginia
Court: Prince William County Circuit Court
Case Name: Commonwealth v Moretti
Lead Counsel: Thomas A. Pavlinic
Co-Counsel: Fernando Villarroel and Mark Branca
Date: January 04, 2022

Result: All Charges Dismissed


I remember vividly meeting Scott Moretti at his home just before Thanksgiving 2019 to discuss these absurd charges. What followed were 2 years of pure hell for him and his family. There were multiple meetings, court hearings and hundreds of hours dedicated to digesting the Commonwealth’s “evidence” and preparing for trial.

As the Post’s article points out, 2 full years before Scott’s arrest, there was evidence this troubled teenager identified her perpetrator. Yet, neither law enforcement nor the prosecutors made any effort to obtain the most definitive evidence in the case. The defense team retained a lawyer in California to secure the hotline records, and we got them just before Christmas 2021. Even our efforts to obtain local records were opposed by the Commonwealth.

A nondisclosure discovery order prevents our detailing the insanity that characterized the blind eye and indifference of prosecutors and the machinations of law enforcement, the teenage complainant her family and her supporters that led to Scott’s false arrest and malicious prosecution. Perhaps these facts and the true story will play out in other arenas.