BLOOMINGTON — A McLean County jury deliberated about 90 minutes Wednesday before convicting a Bloomigton man of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, but acquitting him of sexual assault of a minor.
A July 9 sentencing is scheduled for Scott, who is eligible for probation, or a sentence of three to seven years in prison. He also must register as a sex offender. He remains in the county jail.
During his testimony Wednesday, Scott told jurors race and a mistrust of police led him to lie to a detective during questioning about the assault.
Scott said the sexual activity with a girl under 17 was consensual and occurred after the two met during his time as a volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal. Scott's unpaid work with youth was part of his court-ordered community service on an unrelated battery charge.
Scott's explanation of why he believed it was appropriate to have sex with the girl defied logic, Assistant State's Attorney David Rossi said in closing arguments.
Scott said he initially lied to Bloomington police Detective Curt Maas in July 2018 about his involvement with the girl more than six months earlier. He said he was angry and fearful as he sat in the BPD interrogation room with an officer he believed had determined he was guilty.
"I'm a 23-year-old black male and being accused of something I didn't do," Scott told jurors.
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"I was going to try to lie my way out of the situation. That's just being honest," Scott of his initial statement denying sexual activity with the girl, who was 16 at the time.
When the detective mentioned Sunnyside Park — the location of the alleged assault — Scott admitted to having sex with the girl he claims he believed was 17. He did not learn until later in the interview, when he was arrested, that the alleged victim had accused him of forcing her to engage in sex.
In response to questions from defense lawyer Jennifer Patton, Scott said he first learned the girl was underage during a basketball game with friends in November 2017. Scott showed his friends a photo of the girl she sent to him via Snapchat.
"The best word I can use is astonishment," Scott said of his friends' disclosure.
When he confronted the teen the next day, she maintained she was 17, he said. He said he ended the relationship, but she made attempts later to contact him. Scott said the alleged victim was aware he was 22 at the time.
In her testimony Tuesday, the girl said she told family members about the alleged assault in May 2014 after she was facing punishment for failing several classes. She broke down in tears as she described the alleged attack at the park located a short walk from the youth facility.
The defendant and alleged victim differ in their accounts and the date of the incident. She told police it occurred Nov. 16, 2017, and Scott told officers it was Oct. 30, 2017.