Former Resident Acquitted Of Child Sex Offenses
A former Needmore man was found not guilty last week of criminal allegations he assaulted and exposed himself to a young boy several times over a 10-year time frame.
Forty-year-old Curtis Bryner, formerly of 782 East Hill Road, was acquitted of the charges that were filed in December 2010. Among the 13 charges levied against Bryner at the time were involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal coercion, indecent assault, indecent exposure, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person.
Taking the stand in his own defense, Bryner vehemently denied all accusations that he touched the boy, who was 5 and 14 when the alleged assaults occurred at two different homes in Fulton County.
He also went on to refute that he pointed a gun at the child and threatened him. Having worked in the medical field for 22 years, Bryner said he was fully aware of what a gunshot wound to the head looks like, and he was not capable of the act.
Bryner also explained to the court how he came to be currently lodged in the Albion, Pa., state correctional institution. Having had two back surgeries, Bryner said he eventually found himself abusing both pain killers and muscle relaxers. He was arrested when he tried to fill a prescription belonging to his ex-wife and again when tried to forge information on a prescription.
“Going to jail probably saved my life,” he said.
Those infractions occurred after Bryner and his family moved to the Gettysburg area in November 2008. In the meantime, he has not had any contact with the victim, who is now 18, since April 2009.
Bryner’s father, brother and a friend all testified they never noticed anything unusual about the interaction or behavior between Bryner and the boy. However, all three men admitted they did not possess any background in child psychology, counseling or therapy.
The victim in the case also took the stand during last Tuesday’s trial by jury. He said when the first series of alleged incidents occurred over a week in the spring of 1998, he didn’t realize it was wrong. Later on he would hear about abuse and molestation in school, but didn’t share his story because he was “embarrassed.”
Ten years later in February 2008, the victim outlined the details surrounding another assault that involved pointing a gun at his head while he performed various acts. Referred to as “Russian roulette” by court officials, the victim alleged Bryner emptied out the ammo in a revolver and loaded one bullet. Bryner was said to have squeezed the trigger three or four times before the boy complied with his requests.
Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Scott Denisch stated he was made aware of the allegations when he watched an interview in progress at the Child Advocacy Center in Gettysburg in early 2010. He said he did not speak to the boy personally as procedure dictates all officials aside from the counselor should sit in adjacent room and watch the interview as it is being videoed.
The trooper said the victim mentioned the Russian roulette scenario, but he could not recall if the boy was asked if the gun was ever fired out an adjacent window by Bryner.
In closing out the trial, defense attorney David Keller told the jury, “You have heard a terrible, terrible story. It’s only a story. There is no proof.”
“What does the commonwealth’s case consist of? The victim’s story. Nothing else. There is no physical evidence, no DNA evidence,” Keller pointed out. “…The victim’s consistency means nothing. He has his story down ... It’s a consistent terrible lie.”