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Before he possibly dismisses charges against Jeff Farmer of Elizabethtown, Judge Kelly Mark Easton will review a grand jury hearing and all evidence in the case, he said in Hardin Circuit Court on Tuesday.
“I will have to decide if it’s unjust to dismiss the case — with or without prejudice,” Easton said.
Farmer, 46, and Christin Nicole Dague, 27, of Radcliff, are accused of involving a minor younger than 16 in a filmed sexual performance between 2007 and 2008.
In September, the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney filed a motion to dismiss Farmer’s charges without prejudice, citing insufficient evidence. That day, Dague pleaded guilty to an amended down charge of second-degree unlawful transaction with a minor.
During a sentencing hearing Tuesday, Easton said he would continue Dague’s hearing at a later date after a decision has been reached in Farmer’s case.
At the proceedings, Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Shaw explained how this particular case came to the attention of the Radcliff Police Department.
The alleged victim remained silent about the incident for several years until telling a family member, Shaw said.
The girl’s mother read a statement during Dague’s hearing. She said she could tell her daughter was carrying around a secret.
The mother said her daughter struggled with an eating disorder that reached its peak when the alleged incident came to light.
During September’s hearing, Dague’s attorney, Wesley Durham, said Dague and the alleged victim disrobed to undergarments and touched each other sexually.
This event occurred at Dague’s residence in Radcliff between 2007 and 2008, Shaw said Tuesday. Besides Dague and the alleged victim, Dague’s sister and two young males also were present in the house at the time the alleged incident occurred.
Witnesses have delivered conflicting statements regarding the filming of the encounter, Shaw said.
According to one statement, a juvenile boy was filming the interaction while another indicated the camera was on a tripod, he said.
Furthermore, Dague has said Farmer requested via text message that the encounter be filmed, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Heather Paynter said at the September hearing. However, police have been unable to recover the message and witnesses can only testify to hearing about its existence.
In regards to the tape, Shaw said Tuesday no one at the Radcliff residence watched the tape the night it was made, including Dague and the alleged victim.
Dague has said she does not know what’s on the tape and gave it to Farmer, he said. Police have never recovered a tape.
Even though the grand jury returned an indictment against Farmer, Shaw said prosecutors are unable to move beyond probable cause.
Easton referred to the grand jury’s returning of an indictment as “disturbing.” A grand jury is instructed an indictment should not be returned without sufficient evidence to pursue prosecution.
“There are many things that are disturbing,” he said about the case.
The judge will review the grand jury hearing and the evidence in the case before making a decision.
Shaw said Dague’s amended down charge of second-degree unlawful transaction with a minor is not related to the sexual encounter that occurred.
During interviews with the alleged victim, the girl stated Dague provided her with drugs, including marijuana, he said, but this was a late disclosure in the investigation.
The alleged victim’s mother said the family since has moved out-of-state, and though she has been a church-goer for most of her life, she has stopped going since her daughter’s allegations came to light.
Her voice cracked with emotion when she explained how proud she was of her daughter for coming forward about the alleged incident.
“I’m extremely proud of her, very proud,” she said.
Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.