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Lolley found guilty

The Opp man accused of sexually abusing his stepdaughter was found guilty Friday, even after his victim recanted her story.

District Attorney Greg Gambril said the six man, six woman jury returned a verdict in two and a half hours ending a five-day trial to find Robert Dennis Lolley, 42, formerly of Opp and now residing in Enterprise, guilty of first-degree sodomy and first-degree rape.

Gambril said the case brought a unique challenge to his office.

“The victim, who is now 11, recanted and stated that she had made up the allegations,” Gambril said. “We knew that she was under a lot of family pressure about the case, so it was never a surprise that she buckled underneath the pressure; (however) after conferring with the doctors and counselors who treated the victim, the Department of Human Resources who worked with the victim, investigator Mark Kyser with the Opp Police Department who handled the investigation, and Forensic Examiner Chad Wright with the Child Advocacy Center in Dothan, there was no doubt that this child was sexually abused.”

Gambril called the recant “one of the greatest tragedies in the case,” and noted that the victim’s mother was indicted and convicted of endangering the welfare of a child for the way that she handled the accusations.

The case was prosecuted by assistant district attorney ChaLea Tisdale.

Tisdale said that the Alabama legislature has passed child sexual abuse victim protection laws that allow the testimony of prior statements of a child under the age of 12.

“Those statements, which included a sexually explicit drawing made by the child and a video taped interview with her, along with the opinion of several experts in the field that she was sexually abused were the crux of our evidence,” Tisdale said.  “All of the experts agreed that the details that this 8-year-old was able to give, and the consistency that she had in giving them, was well beyond that of a child her age. Kids just don’t know these things, and they also don’t know that they can use them in lies to get their way.

“My heart goes out to this child,” she said. “She was not only victimized by her stepfather, but now she has been victimized again by the pressures put on her to lie about what happened to her. I ask anyone who hears of this case to pray for her and to pray for stability in her life.”

Judge Ashley McKathan will sentence Lolley at 9 a.m., on July 12. Under Alabama law, Lolley could face up to anywhere from two years to life in prison.