After being sent in for deliberations last Thursday, jurors for the sexual assault trial of Bruce Nelson arrived at verdict today: guilty on three counts involving a lewd act with a dependent person. The jury also found that the acts were committed without duress – a decision that eliminated a potential eight years’ prison time per each of the seven total counts. The jury was hung on the remaining four counts, which also alleged lewd acts performed on a dependant person. Nelson pled no contest to these, eliminating the possibility of a retrial.
Prosecutor Joyce Dudley said she wouldn’t have wanted to put the victims through the experience of another trial. “This was a very sad and difficult case,” Dudley said. “I have the utmost respect for the victims and consider them to be heroes for reporting these crimes and coming forward to testify. I also deeply appreciate the integrity and hard work of this judge and jury.” Steve Balash, Nelson’s attorney, said he hoped Nelson would be eligible for probation. “This is one of the most emotionally draining cases I’ve ever had and I’m happy and relieved at the outcome,” Balash said.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 12. Nelson faces a maximum seven years in the state prison.