Jurors deliberating rape claim from Arnold teen
A Westmoreland County jury will resume deliberations Friday morning in the trial of a Bedford County man charged with the rape of an Arnold teen last summer.
Prosecutors contend that Amos J. Taylor, 34, sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl in a home he temporarily lived at with the teen, her parents and siblings.
Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Rita Hathaway sent the jury home about 6 p.m. Thursday after three hours of deliberations.
The girl, now 17, testified that Taylor made three sexual advances to her last summer and raped her in her attic bedroom.
The teen told jurors Taylor became infatuated with her when he moved in and repeatedly asked to date her despite the wide gap in their ages.
She testified Taylor made his first advance to her as she sat on a sofa watching movies as an older sister slept in a nearby chair.
Taylor also barged in on her in the shower, then a month later forcefully undressed her and raped her in an attic bedroom, she said..
Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Calisti asked why the teen waited months to disclose the allegations to her sister and didn't immediately come forward to her parents or police.
“I didn't want anyone to know. I didn't want anyone to look at me differently,” she testified.
Taylor, who is charged with rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, indecent assault and corruption of a minor, denied the allegations during the short, one-day trial before Hathaway.
Taylor told jurors he came to live the Arnold family after his mother died and that the teen concocted the allegations against him.
Calisti conceded to jurors during her closing argument that there was no physical evidence to support the rape claim, but said the teen's allegation was believable.
“If you believe what (the teen) told you today, that is enough to convict,” Calisti said.
Defense attorney John Sweeney asked jurors to find Taylor not guilty, saying there was not enough evidence for a conviction.
“Throughout this whole time there were a bunch of people in this house. There is reasonable doubt, so you must find him not guilty,” Sweeney argued.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer.