Man refuses plea deal, new trial date set

GREENFIELD — A Greenfield man charged with child molesting will have his case heard by a jury for the second time after refusing to accept plea agreements from prosecutors.

Brian Layton, 54, was arrested last year after a teen told police Layton repeatedly sexually assaulted her, according to court documents.

Layton’s case went to trial in May, but the proceedings ended with a hung jury when 12 Hancock County residents told the judge they didn’t know whether Layton was guilty of harming the girl.

Deputy Prosecutor Georgeanna Teipen, who presented the state’s case at trial, said she has since presented Layton with two plea agreements.

He refused both offers, Teipen said. Details of the offers were not released.

Hancock County Circuit Court Judge Richard Culver has placed Layton’s case back on the courtroom docket, with a new trial set to start Sept. 27, court records show.

Layton faces one Level 5 felony count of sexual misconduct with a minor and one Class C misdemeanor count of child molesting.

Throughout the trial, Layton’s defense attorney, Randall Shouse of Indianapolis, tried to cast the victim as an attention-seeking teen. Meanwhile, Teipen argued Layton violated the girl’s trust and took advantage of moments they were alone together to assault her.

Layton was arrested in January 2015 after the girl in November 2014 reported to police he touched her inappropriately on several occasions when she stayed at his Greenfield home.

The victim testified during trial that the abuse happened between 2009 and 2014.

On three instances, Layton fondled her, she said. On one occasion, she said she awoke to the man forcing her to touch him inappropriately.

Layton sometimes assaulted her when another child was in the same room, but no one saw what happened, the girl testified.

Layton repeatedly denied ever harming the girl and took the stand in May to attempt to convince the jury of his own innocence.

He told jurors he would rub the girl’s back, smack the girl’s bottom, as if to say “good job” during a game they were playing and gave her hugs or kisses on the cheek to say hello or goodbye, but he never intended for those acts to be sexual in nature.

At the end of the trial, the jury told court officials they could not reach a verdict. The group of jurors relayed to court officials it were divided on the two counts, leaning toward guilty on one count and not guilty on the other, though no one would confirm which count was getting the guilty nod.

Now, a new jury will be selected to hear the proceedings. Should Layton be found guilty, he faces a penalty of two to eight years and $10,000 in fines for the Class C felony count, and a penalty of one to six years and $10,000 in fines for the Level 5 felony count.

Author photo
Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.