GREENFIELD — Prosecutors have offered a plea bargain to a Greenfield man charged with child molestation whose trial ended with a hung jury earlier this month.
Brian Layton, 54, was arrested last year amid allegations he repeatedly sexually assaulted a teenage girl in his care, according to court documents.
At the conclusion of a two-day trial earlier this month, the 12 jurors tasked with determining Layton’s fate told a judge they could not reach a decision. That left Layton’s case in flux: prosecutors have the option to schedule a new trial date, dismiss the man’s charges or come to an agreement with the defendant.
This week, prosecutors said they opted to offer Layton a plea deal the first to be put on the table in the case because Layton refused to sign any agreement ahead of the original trial date, said deputy prosecutor Georgeanna Teipen.
Deals of the plea agreement were not released; the document does not become public record until after Layton has signed and accepted its terms.
Attorney Randall Shouse of Indianapolis, who is representing Layton, said his client is still weighing how best to proceed, but Shouse admitted the first draft of the deal seems reasonable.
In most plea agreements, the defendant admits guilt to some or all of the criminal charges they face in exchange for an agreed-upon sentence or sentence range.
Layton faces one Level 5 felony count of sexual misconduct with a minor and one Class C count of child molest.
Class C felonies carry a penalty of up to eight years and $10,000 in fines. Level 5 felonies carry a penalty of up to six years and $10,000 in fines.
Layton was arrested in January 2015 after a girl came forward and told police Layton touched her inappropriately on several occasions when she was staying in his Greenfield home. Neither the victim nor the defendant were able to recall exact years or months surrounding those visits during the trial.
The girl testified the assaults happened sometime between 2009 and 2014.
Throughout the trial, Shouse questioned the victim’s credibility, pointing to her willingness to return to her alleged abuser’s home as evidence she might be lying and calling her an attention-seeking teen.
Prosecutors, however, painted a picture of a young girl whose trust had been violated. Teipen asked the jury to consider the girl brave for coming before a courtroom full of strangers to talk about such private matters.
That left the jury divided as to which story to believe, officials said.
Now, prosecutors are putting the ball in Layton’s court to decide what happens next, Teipen said. The judge has scheduled a conference for June 15 to determine the next steps.