BOWLING GREEN—A father told a judge he allowed a 20-year-old man to sleep on the floor in his 14-year-old daughter’s bedroom and the judge on Wednesday gave the father 12 months in jail for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
William Young, 54, of Bowling Green, was given the 12-month sentence for the misdemeanor in Caroline County Circuit Court by Judge Patricia Kelly. He had also been charged with felony child abuse, but the judge allowed that to be dropped on a motion from Young’s lawyer, Herbert Hewitt.
Young admitted during testimony that he gave the OK for his daughter to make a pallet on the floor of her bedroom where Kyle Wayne Huffman, now 21, of Bowling Green could sleep. Young’s younger daughter slept in the bed with the teen daughter while Huffman slept on the floor in the teen’s bedroom, Young testified.
Huffman was arrested on Nov. 6, 2013 and charged with having consensual sex with a 14-year-old girl. Huffman was out on bond when he went on a website a few days later and allegedly began communicating with a Caroline County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) investigator who was posing as a 14-year-old girl. He allegedly tried to set up an encounter with what he thought was a 14-year-old girl at a gas station, and that’s when he was arrested again.
Diane Abato, the deputy Commonwealth’s attorney, called in Huffman to testify. The slender young man, with shackled ankles and handcuffs, testified that he had slept with Young’s 14-year-old daughter and had sex with her “nine or 10 times.”
Huffman also stated that he and the teen had sex while her father was in the small second-floor apartment along Maury Avenue in Bowling Green. He had sex with her in other locations too, he testified.
“I didn’t see a problem with it, obviously, because the parents said it was OK,” Huffman testified. He quoted Young as saying, “ ‘As long as it was on the down low, it will be OK.’ ”
Huffman testified that he had given Young five or six packs of cigarettes and loaned $50 to $70 to him while staying in the apartment 10 to 14 nights, sometimes for three consecutive nights.
Young came in the bedroom once and saw Huffman and the teen in the bed together. They were “in bed, just laying there, sometimes kissing,” when Young saw them, Huffman said.
During cross-examining by Young’s attorney, Huffman testified, “I told Mr. Young we were dating.” Prior to meeting Young’s daughter, Huffman was in a relationship with an “older woman” who lived on the first floor of the apartment, he said.
When asked how he met Young’s daughter, Huffman said, “We had seen each other. She got curious about me.” They eventually exchanged cell phone numbers and he began visiting her at the apartment.
Huffman testified that Young must have known Huffman was having sex with the teen because “it was pretty obvious.”
Hewitt asked Huffman, “When did you tell Mr. Young you were having sex with his daughter?” Huffman answered, “On July 12 or 13 of last year, I told Mr. Young we were having sex. I told him I was in a relationship with his daughter and was having sex with her.”
Hewitt asked, “What was his response?” Huffman quoted Young as saying, “ ‘As long as it don’t get out, it will be fine.’ ”
Huffman said Young and his son and younger daughter slept in the living room while Huffman shared the apartment’s only bedroom with the teen daughter. The living room had a mattress on the floor and a toddler bed.
Abato told the judge that the 14-year-old girl had also had sex with another man (her adult uncle), who was arrested.
Abato called Carlie Hemming, an in-home mental health professional, to testify. Hemming was called in to work with the teen after she stopped attending school. She saw Huffman in the home several times.
The teen was brought to the courthouse for a drug screening in 2013. That was when “she requested I take her to the doctor; she had a vaginal itch and needed treatment,” Hemming testified.
Investigator Kristel DiGravio of the CCSO testified that she had an interview with Young on July 22, 2013. In his first statement, he said he didn’t know Huffman and the teen were having sex. “Young said Huffman and his daughter were friends and that he knew they were walking around town together,” DiGravio said. The father also said Huffman slept in a chair in the front room of the apartment with the rest of the family.
“Later, he admitted that his daughter and Huffman were having sex,” DiGravio testified. “He admitted he had lied and didn’t want his kids taken away. He also said he was in denial.”
Under questioning from Hewitt, DiGravio said Young “told Huffman to cut it out (the sex) or else he would have to call the law.”
Hewitt made a motion to drop the felony child abuse charge because it lacked the required proof of a “willful act or omission or refusal to provide any necessary care for the child’s health and causes or permits serious injury to the life or health of the child.”
However, Abato countered, “It was most certainly was a willful act. He (Young) told him (Huffman) to keep it on the low down. He asked for money and cigarettes. It was life-threatening because pregnancy is something that can be fatal.
“This man allowed his 14-year-old daughter to have sexual intercourse with an adult male,” Abato said. “He allowed a 20-year-old man to sleep in the only bedroom in the house with his 14-year-old daughter.”
Nevertheless, the judge granted the motion to strike the felony charge.
Wearing a dress shirt, jacket and dress slacks, Young, who is bald and has a full beard, testified that Huffman was in a relationship with “the girl downstairs” when he met him. Later, Young allowed Huffman to babysit his children for two hours “just once.”
Young, whose wife was no longer in the home, also testified that he never saw Huffman and his daughter kissing. He saw them in her bedroom together but “they were playing cards and coloring,” he said, adding, “I would tell them to leave the door open.” He indicated he never saw them doing anything sexual.
His teen daughter “made a pallet (temporary bed) on the floor for him in the bedroom,” Young said, adding that he never gave permission for Huffman to sleep with her. “I did not ever say everything would be OK if they would keep it on the low down.”
Hewitt was specific in asking, “Did you allow him to sleep in the bedroom?” Young answered, yes, “on the floor.” Young further explained that his two daughters shared the bed while Huffman slept on the floor in the bedroom.
“The place is really small and I’m a very light sleeper,” Young said. Huffman stayed overnight in the apartment three or four times. Huffman gave him cigarettes “when he knew I was out,” Young said. He testified that he did not know his daughter was having sex. “I didn’t remember telling DiGravio I knew Huffman was having sex with my daughter. I remember getting arrested.”
Abato told Young that his interview with DiGravio was tape-recorded. Abato also quoted from the interview with DiGravio that Young said his daughter “would go behind his back and do it anyway, even if he told her not have to have sex.”
During sentencing, Abato told the judge, “I ask for jail time. Clearly, he did allow her to have sex with adult males. The child is in therapy now and in a foster home. This has had a huge effect on her life and the lives of the other children.” Abato also suggested that Young not be allowed unsupervised visitation with his daughter and that she remain in foster care.
Hewitt asked the judge to give Young a suspended sentence and that the court not require supervised visitation.
Young told the judge, “My kids are doing great. I do want to get them back. My son is doing well with his reading. Of course, I can’t read or help him with that.”
After the trial, Hewitt said he had no comment, but Abato said, “I’m disappointed he wasn’t convicted of the felony. It’s clear he was allowing his 14-year-old child to have sex. I’m gratified he was convicted of the misdemeanor and that he’ll do six months.” Even though Young was given 12 months in jail, he’ll probably be released after six months because that is often the way it works with misdemeanors, Abato noted.
Abato noted that Caroline seems to have more than its fair share of cases like this. “People need to be aware of this,” she said. “If you see something that is not right or looks inappropriate, say something to the authorities.”