By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – David Campbell’s 2011 conviction on fondling a 16-year-old visitor to his home was reversed this week by the Mississippi Court of Appeals.
A circuit court jury in Lafayette County convicted him and he was sentenced to seven years with five years suspended.
Key to his conviction was the accusation that he held a position of trust or authority over the alleged victim, then a 16-year-old female in residential treatment at Millcreek facility in Pontotoc, where Campbell’s wife was a therapist.
In 2006, Campbell’s wife agreed to let the girl live with them for about three months and they took her on a vacation.
A few months later, Campbell was accused of having sex with the girl in their home and outside the treatment facility. He was found not guilty of sexual battery but guilty of fondling.
Judge Ken Griffis, writing for the 7-2 decision, says the state failed to prove that the Campbells were the girl’s foster parents, even though they were in the process of becoming so.
He also wrote that the girl was at all times in the legal custody of the Department of Human Services and in the physical custody of Millcreek, despite her living with the Campbells.
“The state did not put on evidence that Campbell controlled (her) care in any way,” the judge wrote about a necessary element of the crime.
Steven E. Farese Sr. of Ashland, Campbell’s attorney, said his client has been free on bond pending the appeal.