TWIN FALLS — A jury Thursday found a Buhl man not guilty of charges that he had sex with a girl when she was 11 to 13 years old.
Nicholas Emmet Stewart, 25, was indicted by a grand jury in January 2018 on six felony counts of lewd conduct with a child under 16. His trial began on Tuesday at the Twin Falls County Judicial Annex before Fifth District Judge Benjamin Cluff.
The victim, now 15, testified under questioning from deputy prosecutor Suzanne Ehlers that Stewart had sex with her on six occasions while she was between the ages of 11 and 13, according to court documents. The incidents happened during hunting trips, at a hot spring, in a recreational vehicle and at family gatherings.
Stewart testified that the various gatherings and trips did take place, but he did not have sex with the victim at any time.
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Ehlers told the jury in her closing statement that the victim had no reason to perjure herself, reminding jurors how difficult it is to talk about things adults don’t even like to talk about.
She also emphasized how witnesses from Children at Risk Evaluation Services testified to the validity of the victim’s statements.
Defense attorney Steven McRae countered that information in his closing statement. He said that prior to the original charges being filed against Stewart, he told the victim’s mother that the victim had been having sex with a boy.
McRae told jurors the victim was angry at Stewart for causing her trouble.