Verdict guilty in ‘shocking’ molestation, 24-year-old faces minimum of 60 years — (Lafayette Journal and Courier)

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Lafayette Journal and Courier

October 21, 2011


A Lafayette man faces 60 to 80 years in prison after being found guilty Thursday of sexually abusing a 3-year old boy in his care.
Kyle W. Lynch, 24, was visibly upset and bowed his head when the verdict — guilty of child molesting as a Class A felony — was read aloud Thursday afternoon by Judge Randy Williams of Tippecanoe Superior Court 1.
Jurors deliberated for more than two hours before concluding that Lynch, and not another man who earlier had confessed, is the person who caused injuries that placed the Lafayette toddler in an Indianapolis hospital for one week in October 2009.
Lynch had been baby-sitting the 3-year-old on Oct. 13, 2009, at the home of the boy’s maternal grandmother. The grandmother came home that afternoon to the boy crying and Lynch wiping the boy’s buttocks with a towel.
Stephanie Sciaudone, a sexual assault nurse at Riley Hospital for Children, examined the toddler that same day.  During the trial, she described the victim’s injuries to the rectum as “shocking.” Graphic photos that were projected onto a screen in the courtroom made some jurors look away.
Another family acquaintance, Timothy D. Copley, previously confessed to the crime. But suspicion shifted to Lynch after DNA testing showed that body fluids on the boy’s underwear in all probability came from Lynch.
Lynch and Copley are acquaintances of the family. Lynch did not testify. His court-appointed attorney, Pat Manahan, challenged whether prosecutors could prove that it was Lynch who committed the crime and not Copley. He questioned the accuracy of the DNA analysis and proposed the likelihood of evidence contamination.
He also told jurors during closing arguments that Lynch was a victim of sexual abuse as a child.
According to Prosecutor Pat Harrington, because of the boy’s age, Lynch faces 30 to 50 years in prison on the child molestation charge. A felony is typically punishable by 20 to 50 years.

After the verdict was read, Lynch then opted to plead guilty to being a habitual offender. That was based on two unrelated Class D felony theft convictions in 2007 and 2008.
That 30-year sentencing enhancement must be served consecutively to the child molesting count, so the minimum sentence would be 60 years.
Lynch told Williams that he currently takes Prozac for depression and was previously diagnosed as mildly mentally handicapped.
Although Lynch did not testify, he told investigators that he had a “sick thought” and “wasn’t thinking” when he picked up the 3-year-old, then unzipped his own pants, court documents alleged.   He will be sentenced in November.