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Trial begins for Watertown man accused of child sex abuse

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The attorney representing a Watertown man against charges that he sexually abused a then-12-year-old girl told Jefferson County Court jurors Monday that the allegations were retaliation against the man for taking the girl’s mother’s side in a dispute.

Jon K. Massey, 52, is on trial, facing three counts each of predatory sexual assault of a child and first-degree criminal sexual act, as well as two counts of second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child. It is alleged that he had repeated sexual contact with the child between September 2009 and April 2010 in Watertown.

During opening statements Monday, Assistant District Attorney Patricia L. Dzuiba said Mr. Massey was involved in an “on-again, off-again” relationship with the alleged victim’s mother and that the girl initially liked Mr. Massey, as she was able to “get away” from her home and go to Mr. Massey’s apartment, where she was allowed to watch television and eat snack food.

“She finally had a person in her life who was like a dad to her, who looked out for her,” Miss Dzuiba said.

However, she told jurors, Mr. Massey began making inappropriate comments to her and touching her, behavior that escalated to sexual abuse. The girl did not tell anyone about the alleged abuse for about two years until “she blurted it out” during an argument with her mother at which Mr. Massey was present, according to Miss Dzuiba.

Mr. Massey’s attorney, Salvatore J. Piemonte, Camillus, said the outburst came when Mr. Massey took the side of the girl’s mother in a dispute over a relationship the girl was having when she was 14 years old with a 21-year-old man. Mr. Piemonte said the mother threatened to have the man arrested for the relationship with her minor daughter and Mr. Massey “backed up the mom” in her insistence that the relationship end. He claimed the child had “strong motivation to manufacture these allegations” as she cared about the older boyfriend.

Mr. Piemonte also said that the dates of the alleged abuse do not match up with dates originally given to police in the girl’s statements. Mr. Massey was initially indicted in December 2012 on allegations that the abuse occurred between fall 2010 and spring 2011, but the girl changed her statement to reflect earlier dates, according to Mr. Piemonte. After she did, a superseding indictment containing more serious charges was handed up in August.

Trial testimony was scheduled to resume today.

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