Jury ends deadlocked in sex abuse trial

A Jackson County jury declared itself deadlocked in the trial of an Ashland community theater actor accused of a Measure 11 sex abuse crime involving a 10-year-old girl.

The jury's failure to reach a verdict Friday means Sunshine Sweetwater Bucy, 38, will be retried on a single charge of first-degree sex abuse for alleged inappropriate and illegal contact with the girl, said Deputy District Attorney David Orr.

"We will continue until we reach a just result," said Orr, adding a new pretrial date was set for June 6.

The girl testified earlier this week that Bucy kissed her on the lips, nuzzled her neck, touched her upper thigh and tried to unzip her sweatshirt during a party at his Faith Street apartment complex on July 31, 2010.

Bucy denied all the allegations.

"I know that I am not guilty and I thought that was obvious," said a tearful Bucy after the jury was disbanded.

A guilty verdict would have sent Bucy to prison for six years.

Jury members, who ultimately deadlocked at six to six, had told Circuit Court Judge Tim Barnack they were in a stalemate shortly before noon. Barnack sent the jurors back to the deliberation room to continue to try and reach a verdict. Jury members apologized for their inability to reach an agreement in a note they sent Barnack shortly after 3 p.m.

The multi-day trial included bedroom reenactments, character attacks on witnesses and affirmations for the defendant's character as well as allegations he has a pattern of making advances toward young girls.

On Tuesday, the first day of trial, Orr called witnesses who testified Bucy was drunk and appeared enamoured of the girl who offered an impromptu singing performance at the party. They also called the child's mother. She and others said they were startled to hear Bucy announce he wanted to marry the child when she was 10 years older.

The mother said she saw her daughter and Bucy leap off of a bed together later that night. Bucy was on his side with his arm over the girl, she said. Her daughter immediately ran to her, shaking and upset, she said. They left immediately and the child soon told her Bucy had kissed, nuzzled and touched her, the mother said.

After the girl's mother called Ashland police on Aug. 1, an investigation resulted in Bucy's arrest a few days later. He was lodged in the Jackson County Jail and released after posting security on $100,000 bail and agreeing not to contact the victim or any other children.

On Wednesday, Bucy's attorney, Peter Carini, called the 10-year-old girl, whom he repeatedly characterized as precocious and attention-starved, to the stand. Carini had Bucy's bed set up in the courtroom. He asked the girl to stand next to the bed and direct Carini into the position Bucy was in during the alleged abuse in an effort to discredit her.

Ashland police Detective Carrie Hull said the young girl was shaking and holding a little doll to her chest.

Carini also had the girl's 6-year-old brother demonstrate what he'd seen that night.

On Thursday afternoon, Carini called Southern Oregon University theater professors Maggie McClellan and Deborah Rosenberg, along with Camelot Theatre Artistic Director Livia Genise, as character witnesses for his client. All three women said they'd known Bucy for a few years. They described him as ethical and appropriate around children.

During cross examination, Genise also testified Bucy had dated her teenage daughter without her knowledge.

Orr recalled one of the state's earlier witnesses, a cast member in a play Bucy was scheduled to perform in before his arrest, to rebut the women's character assessment of Bucy.

Rose Blackford took the stand late Thursday and tearfully recounted how Bucy had bought alcohol for herself and two other underage companions. Bucy then smoked marijuana and made sexual advances toward her 18-year-old female friend. That young woman then corroborated Blackford's account of the evening.

After the jury failed to reach a verdict, Barnack set a new pretrial date for June 6. Carini asked whether Bucy could be allowed to attend his daughter's school graduation ceremony on June 9. Barnack agreed.

"I have no problem with that as long as he's not alone," the judge said.

Sanne Specht is a reporter for the Mail Tribune. Reach her at 541-776-4497 or email sspecht@mailtribune.com.

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