PINEVILLE, Mo. — A McDonald County jury late Wednesday night was still deliberating in the trial of Bryon Hansen on charges that he sexually abused a young girl over a three- to four-year period culminating in a rape and subsequent miscarriage in 2015.

A jury of 10 women and two men deliberated had started deliberating in the three-day trial at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. The 39-year-old rural Joplin man was charged with two counts of first-degree statutory sodomy, two counts of first-degree child molestation and a single count of second-degree rape.

Judge John LePage conducted the trial in Pineville on a change of venue from Newton County.

Hansen denied that he ever physically or sexually abused the girl when he took the witness stand in his own defense Wednesday, saying none of the incidents that his accuser, now a 20-year-old woman, recounted for the jury ever happened.

Concerning the first time that she said he molested her — when she was 11 years old — knocking her to the floor of the laundry room of the residence in Seneca and getting on top of her, he simply said: “That never happened.”

On another occasion, when she was in the seventh grade and stayed home from school sick and fell asleep in her mother’s bedroom while watching a movie, she woke up to find molesting her, she had testified. Hansen told the jury her account did not fit their family’s pattern.

“Anytime any of the kids were sick, they always wanted their mom. Not me,” he said. “I was never with them.”

About another time that she testified he had entered her bedroom and threw her out of a recliner and across the room, causing her to hit her head on the footboard of the bed, and then proceeded to molest her, Hansen said: “That’s wrong. I would never attack a child. That’s false.”

His accuser had testified that the last instance of sexual abuse came in 2015 when she was 13 and he raped her after drugging her energy drink with something that made her begin slipping in and out of consciousness. She had told jurors how she became impregnated as a result of the rape and suffered a miscarriage a couple of months later when Hansen punched her in the abdomen.

That account could never be true because it went against one of his principles as a parent, Hansen explained.

He said he was a “strong believer” that kids should not consume energy drinks, “no matter what age they are.”

His attorney, Jeremy Bennett, sought and obtained from Judge John LePage judicial notice of the average size of a fetus in the first few weeks of development according to the Mayo Clinic, which the judge read to jurors at the close of the defense’s case. The source listed an average size of 3.5 inches at 12 weeks, which would have been in excess of the number of weeks that had passed between the approximate dates of the rape and the miscarriage that the woman had provided.

Bennett told jurors during his closing argument that testimony they had heard as to the size of the head of the fetus the girl claimed to have miscarried was not consistent with the information put out by the Mayo Clinic.

He had opened his argument with the assertion that “the truth is easy, lies are hard.” In this case, Bennett said, there was no physical evidence the state could present to back its charges, only the testimonies of the girls, their mother and uncle, and a therapist.

Bennett pointed to what he believed were inconsistencies in their testimonies, such as her mother thinking her daughter had told her he held a knife to her throat when he raped her. But the daughter testified that he put the knife to her throat on a different occasion and not during the rape, he said.

Even more suspicious was how no family members, teachers or anyone else apparently noticed any bruising on the girl over the course of eight years of alleged physical abuse as frequent as every week as the woman had testified, Bennett said.

“Did you hear any testimony from anybody that said: ‘Yeah, I saw those bruises on her neck?’” he asked.

Assistant Prosecutor J.D. Hatcher questioned Hansen on cross-examination about his character witnesses’ claims that he was a “peaceful” man not prone to violence and his own claims that he never assaulted anyone or even disciplined kids in a physical manner, pointing out his prior conviction for domestic assault of a girlfriend.

Hansen denied that any such assault took place, claimed he could not recall having pleaded guilty to the charge even when shown a court record to that effect and then asserted that he believed the charge had been expunged.

Hatcher turned those denials against him during closing arguments, telling jurors: “Somebody is lying, and that’s a fact.”

His primary accuser, her sister and their mother had provided “detailed, reasonable testimony” concerning what the defendant had done, Hatcher said. They had no motive or incentive to be lying and trying to send an innocent man to prison, he said.

Not only the sisters, but a third girl who testified to a portion of what his primary victim had told them, are all “scared” of Hansen because he is a violent man, the prosecutor argued.

“He knew about that domestic assault conviction,” Hatcher said. “Was he willing to tell you about it? No. Mr. Hansen is scared of the truth.”

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