Judge: Confession legally obtained

GREENFIELD — Police acted properly while questioning a Greenfield man accused of child molestation, and the confession they obtained during that interview may be used in court, a judge ruled this week.

Attorneys met Tuesday to argue whether video-recorded statements William Schini made to police before his arrest in late 2014 should be admissible in court. Schini, 47, is accused of 11 child abuse-related felonies, including child molesting.

Schini’s defense attorney, Michael Boring of New Palestine, told Hancock Circuit Judge Richard Culver that police acted unethically, noting his client asked about a lawyer several times during a taped interview.

Prosecutor Georgeanna Teipen maintained detectives made it clear Schini had not yet been charged and was free to leave that interview at any time.

Culver, after taking the matter under advisement, sided with the state, ruling Schini’s confession was not obtained illegally and could be used against him next week in court.

Schini’s trial is scheduled to start Tuesday.

He faces 11 felony charges amid allegations he fondled a teenage girl at least 10 times over three years, according to court documents. The charges include six counts of sexual misconduct with a minor; two counts of child molestation; one count of sexual battery; one count of attempted child molestation; and one count of attempted sexual misconduct with a minor.

Schini voluntarily came to the police department in late 2014 after police told him he was being investigated. He spoke to detectives in the lobby of the Greenfield Police Department and then was further interviewed. Both conversations were recorded.

Schini signed a form waiving his right to talk to investigators without an attorney and in the interview with police admitted to everything the girl accused him of doing, court documents state.

Greenfield police Detective Sgt. Nichole Gilbert was present for that interview and told the judge in court Tuesday that Schini never asked for a lawyer.

He said he “didn’t want to admit to anything that (the victim) didn’t tell us about but that what she did tell us was probably true,” Gilbert wrote in her report.

Prosecutor Brent Eaton said he never doubted investigators followed proper procedures.

“We had confidence the statement was collected correctly,” he said.

Boring did not return a call for comment on the case.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.