A jury on Friday acquitted a construction worker who was accused of raping a girl he met online.
Tavarous Munroe, 27, of Old Cedar Street, Yellow Elder Gardens, was found not guilty by a majority verdict of 8-1. The panel deliberated for two hours.
Munroe was charged with unlawful sexual intercourse because he was accused of having sex with a 14-year-old, who was too young to legally consent.
The girl, who is now 16, testified that she met Munroe in 2019, after accepting a Facebook friend request from a person called Hot Skull.
After communicating with him online, the girl testified that Munroe asked to meet up with her.
She testified that Munroe picked her up in a grey Honda Accord.
The teenager said she told him she was 14 and which school she attended.
Nonetheless, the girl said Munroe picked her up and took her to his home in Yellow Elder Gardens a few days later.
After kissing him in his bedroom, the complainant said she undressed herself and they had sex.
He took her home after the encounter.
Police arrested Munroe last January on the complaint.
The allegations surfaced after her family filed a missing person’s report. She returned home after being missing for three days.
The girl said she left home because her male cousin was physically abusive. However, the cousin said she made the false claim of abuse against him “because she wanted her own way”.
The girl told the court that she didn’t seek refuge by Munroe. She claimed that she was by a female cousin for the three days.
Munroe did not testify at his trial. However, he denied the allegations during a confrontation between him and the teen and during his interview with police.
In her summation, Justice Renae McKay told the jury that the accused did not have to prove his innocence and had a right to remain silent.
She said, “I direct you not to hold his right and his choice against him.”
Police investigators did not check Munroe’s Facebook account to see if he and the girl were really in communication.
The girl did not produce a record of their alleged communications via Facebook messenger and WhatsApp.
She said her WhatsApp messages were lost when her phone crashed and she couldn’t recall her Facebook password.
Under cross-examination by defense attorney Miranda Adderley, the girl said that she was still on Facebook.
She claimed, however, that she had started a new account.
Cassie Bethell and Denard Brown prosecuted.