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Jury finds man guilty of molesting girl

POTOSI – Jurors decided that a Washington County man intentionally molested a 10-year-old girl.

A Washington County jury found Michael Becker, 32, of Cadet, guilty of first-degree statutory sodomy. He will be sentenced Sept. 19.

Washington County Prosecuting Attorney John Rupp said the defendant and his attorney decided they wanted the judge to decide the term he will serve. Becker could be sentenced from 10 years to life in prison.

His trial, which was held in Potosi before Circuit Court Judge Kenneth W. Pratte, began Wednesday afternoon with testimony from the alleged victim, who is now 13 years old.

The girl testified she fell asleep while watching television on the defendant’s bed and woke up when she felt someone touching her.

She testified that her shorts had been unbuttoned and unzipped and Becker’s hand was underneath her clothing, touching her inappropriately.

She told jurors that when she woke up she looked behind her and saw that Becker was lying right behind her. She said his eyes were closed.

“I thought he was asleep,” she said.

She said she just lay there “scared” and “horrified” for two to three minutes while this continued. She said she turned around to look at him again and he had his eyes open.

“He asked me what was wrong,” she said.

She said she then jumped up and got off the bed. She said Becker then picked up the phone, called her mother and went to another room.

The girl said she did not tell anyone, including her mother, about what happened that day.

However, she told jurors that she had lied to her mother before about Becker sexually abusing her.

She said that she didn’t like him and wanted him out of her life so she told her mother that Becker was sexually abusing her.

“I would tell my mom he was abusing me in a specific way and then I would tell her the next day it was a lie,” the girl said. “I carried it on for a year or two.”

She even told Becker’s attorney, William Comfort, that she lied to her mother on “many, many occasions.”

She said she never told anyone else about what she admitted were false allegations.

A year after the alleged incident, the girl said she went to police because Becker kicked her. She also told the officer about the time Becker touched her.

The girl also testified there were other times when she woke up in the middle of the night to feel Becker tugging at her shorts.

She said he would have excuses like he was turning on the heater or his watch got caught on her shorts or he was covering her up with a blanket. She did not recall her skin being touched any of those times.

“It happened more than five or six times,” she said.

After she made the allegation, she was eventually placed in the state mental hospital for having suicidal thoughts. She explained that she was depressed and felt like her life had been ruined because of what happened to her home life after she made the allegations.

Becker had told investigators that he woke up with his arm around the girl and his hand down the girl’s pants. He said he did not intentionally touch her and it was “an accident.”

He also told police he took several prescribed pain medications for a health problem.

Denise Brown, a former investigator of child abuse for Ste. Genevieve and Washington counties, interviewed both the girl and Becker.

She said Becker told her that he believed he mistook the girl for his girlfriend. She said she thought that was odd because of the size difference.

She said Becker said he felt bad about what happened and immediately called the child’s mother.

“I have not touched (her) since,” he said. “I felt bad enough about the one time that was an accident.”

Brown testified Becker did seem remorseful about what happened. But she also testified, “It seemed like he was having an awful lot of ‘accidents.'”

The defense rested without calling any witnesses.

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