An Alameda County jury today found a 51-year-old man from the Philippines not guilty of seven felony counts of performing lewd acts with children for allegedly molesting two female relatives in San Leandro nine years ago but deadlocked on three other counts. Superior Court Judge Allan Hymer allowed Levy Genove, who had been held at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in lieu of $350,000 bail, to be released on his own recognizance but ordered him to return to court on Monday, when prosecutors will announce whether they will re-try him on the three remaining counts against him.
Jurors deliberated for about five days before announcing their verdicts. In her closing argument last week Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Venus Johnson told jurors that she believed there was sufficient evidence to convict Genove of molesting the alleged victims, who are adults now but were under the age of 14 at the time of the alleged offenses. Johnson said jurors should believe the testimony by the two women during Genove’s trial because “they have nothing to hide and nothing to gain” by testifying against him. But Genove’s lawyer, Alameda County Associate Public Defender Patrick Jensen, said, “The only just and reasonable verdict is not guilty” because he thinks there are holes in the prosecution’s case against Genove. Jensen said, “No one saw anything, there’s an ever-shifting story” by the alleged victims, Genove doesn’t have a criminal record and 22 family members testified as character witnesses on his behalf.
However, Johnson said it shouldn’t be surprising that Genove’s relatives testified in support of him. “They love him, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a child molester,” Johnson said. San Leandro police Lt. Jeff Tudor said authorities began investigating Genove when a 20-year-old woman contacted police last July 18 to report that Genove, her uncle, had molested her over a one-year period in 2003, when she was 12.
The woman told police that Genove was visiting the Bay Area from the Philippines and was staying in San Leandro, Tudor said. San Leandro detectives then discovered that he was planning to leave the U.S. to fly back to the Philippines six days later, on July 24, so they contacted U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at San Francisco International Airport and coordinated a plan to arrest him there, according to Tudor.
Genove was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers on July 24 as he attempted to board a flight to the Philippines and was turned over to San Leandro police, Tudor said. Further investigation revealed that in addition to molesting the woman who had contacted police, Genove had also allegedly molested other family members around the same time, Tudor said.
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