Trial jury clears elder

Acquittal brings molestation case to speedy end

Visalia Times-Delta/May 17, 2003
By Heidi Rowley

A former Jehovah's Witness elder was cleared Friday of charges of sexual molestation.

Louis Angiuano, 38, stood trial for three days on charges of continuous sexual abuse of a Visalia 12-year-old girl who was a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses congregation where he was a leader.

After a day of deliberations the jury declared Angiuano innocent and the case was dismissed.

Jurors 'did right thing'

Jury members refused to talk to reporters, but one was overheard saying to another, "I think we did the right thing."

Angiuano and his defense attorney, Jim Wilson, refused to comment after the declaration.

During the course of the trial the 12-year-old, her mother and a congregation leader testified against Angiuano.

Proclaimed innocence

On Thursday, Angiuano testified that he was innocent.

Deputy District Attorney Afreen Kaeble said she argued that he was guilty of the offenses and that he had admitted wrongdoing to a Visalia police officer and his church leaders.

The sexual advances Angiuano was accused of included attempting to put money down the girl's shorts, touching her buttocks, rubbing up against her and touching her crotch.

Her family also accused him of excessive attention to the girl by taking multiple photographs and constantly coming over to their house.

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