Man gets probation on sexual misconduct charge

GREENFIELD — A Greenfield man whose trial on child molest charges ended in a hung jury earlier this year has accepted a plea agreement with prosecutors amid the threat of a second trial.

Brian Layton, 54, 3303 U.S. 40 West, Greenfield, agreed to plead guilty to a Class D felony count of sexual misconduct with a minor, according to court records.

He has been ordered to serve two years on probation; the agreement did not call for any jail time, records show. His original charges included two Class C felonies, which carry penalties up to eight years, and one Level 5 felony, which carries a penalty up to six years.

Prosecutors declined to comment on the terms of the agreement, which was approved by Hancock Circuit Court Judge Richard Culver this week.

Layton was arrested in 2015 after a teen came forward saying he’d repeatedly sexually assaulted her, according to police reports.

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

A new jury trial date was set to begin Tuesday, but attorneys on both sides of the case continued to negotiate until an agreement was reached.

Prosecutors said in July they had twice offered Layton plea deals in order to avoid a second trial. The defendant declined both offers, officials said.

Throughout the two-day trial in the spring, prosecutors tried to convince the jury that Layton took advantage of opportunities when he was alone with the victim to sexually assault her. Meanwhile, Layton’s defense attorney painted the victim as a lying teen who made up the allegations to get attention.

The victim, who was often left in Layton’s care, told police Layton touched her inappropriately on several occasions, according to court documents.

The girl testified during trial that Layton fondled her on three instances between 2009 and 2014.

On one occasion, she said she awoke to the man forcing her to touch him inappropriately, she said. Another time, the abuse happened when another child was in the room, she said.

Layton’s defense attorney, Randall Shouse of Indianapolis, questioned the victim’s credibility throughout the proceedings and drew the jury’s attention to her love of the television show, “Dr. Phil,” and comments she made to family members about wanting to appear on the program.

The girl told the jury she was inspired to report the abuse after watching an episode of “Dr. Phil” that focused on domestic violence. She decided to confide in a friend, who encouraged her to tell her mother and go to the police, she said.

Layton originally faced one Class C felony count and one Level 5 felony count of sexual misconduct with a minor, along with one Class C count of child molest.

The lesser Class D felony count Layton pleaded guilty to was added to the case as part of the plea agreement, records show. The original charges were dismissed.

Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or