VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Child molestation charges against a man in Vigo County have been dropped.
It all stems from an allegation made in 2018.
We reached out to Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt after learning Donald Barnhart's trial was canceled.
As part of Modesitt's reply, he said: "While preparing the case for a jury trial and meeting with witnesses...it was apparent the state would not be able to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt."
He also cited ethical obligation. That's not to prosecute knowing the charges weren't supported by probable cause.
A judge also granted a request to dismiss.
See Modesitt's full statement below.
"Some of the most difficult cases to prove are delayed report child molest cases. There is generally no physical evidence to support the allegation. And the State always has the burden of proof to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. In a delayed reporting case, that burden relies significantly on the victim’s ability to testify persuasively enough to convince twelve people of the defendant’s guilt. Some important considerations are whether the victim has provided consistent statements about the event when speaking to friends, family, law enforcement, and forensic interviewers and during depositions. Most importantly, testimony at trial consistent with these prior statements.
Additionally, Rule of Professional Conduct 3.8 - Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor advises that "The prosecutor in a criminal case shall refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause."
While preparing the case for jury trial and meeting with witnesses, it became apparent that the State would not be able to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Based on both evidentiary considerations and ethical obligations, the State filed a Motion to Dismiss the charges."