(EDITOR’S NOTE: While the victims of the sex crime were identified in open court, InkFreeNews has opted not to release the names of victims or their family members.)
UPDATE: The case against Engle resumed at 2 p.m. today. At 2:44 p.m. it was handed over to the jury. The jury is currently deliberating.
The second day of a three-day jury trial to determine the fate of a man accused with two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor began this morning shortly after 11 a.m. in Superior Court I under the jurisdiction of Judge Duane Huffer. The court heard testimony this morning from Franklin L. Engle, 35, of Warsaw, who is accused of two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, both Class B felony charges.
Yesterday, members of the jury and court heard testimonies from the two reported victims, Warsaw Police Det. Brad Keller, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department Det. J.D. Ayers and the mothers of the two alleged victims (see related).
Though Engle was not legally bound to testify, he took the stand today claiming the jury deserved to hear his account of what occurred between him and the two victims.
Events began around May 28, 2012, when both victims attended a family camp-out at their grandparent’s home near Mentone, where Engle and his former wife both resided at the time. Engle stated that though the 14-year-old victim reported she was touched inappropriately, had touched Engle inappropriately and had had anal sex with Engle, none of her statement was true. Engle stated he had been playing card games with both alleged victims inside the house, which was accessible to other family members who were gathered at the home for the camp-out.
When asked about the second alleged misconduct, which reportedly involved a 15-year-old several months later in the sleeper of Engle’s semitractor at a truck stop in Gary, Engle also denied the allegation. Engle stated he was bringing the young teen home from visiting with grandparents in Wyoming and had received a permission slip from the girl’s mother to travel in his semitractor. Engle denied ever stopping in Gary, stating his log book showed he had not been in Gary and his previous claim he had stayed in Gary was incorrect and was made because he did not have his log book with him at the time of his interview with Det. J.D. Ayers.
No adult was told of the allegations until questioned by police in the fall of 2012.
The investigation began in November 2012. when Engle’s former wife, Ashley, brought disturbing messages to police that she found on several electronic devices. One such message indicated the sender (assumed to be Engle) had sex with relatives. Several other messages were discovered, including an alleged conversation with a 12-year-old.
Yesterday during questioning by Bolinger, both Ayers and Warsaw Police Det. Brad Kellar stated it was not verified who sent the messages. Yet testimony was heard that Engle and his former wife were the only ones with access to the computer.
Engle denied having conversations with minors through an electronic device but did admit to having correspondence with a prostitute, whom he called “Kitty Cat”, from Fort Wayne as well as an additional adult woman. Engle noted that he had received a new phone just prior to the initial interview with Ayers.
Court proceedings will reconvene today at 1:30 p.m. following a lunch period.