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DNA Test Fails to Tie Church Elder to Alleged Assault

Bail was dramatically reduced for an East Hartford church elder charged with sexually assaulting a 10-year-old mentally retarded girl after new DNA tests.
( [email protected] ) Dec 22, 2006 08:06 PM EST

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Bail was dramatically reduced for an East Hartford church elder charged with sexually assaulting a 10-year-old mentally retarded girl after new DNA tests showed he could not have been the one who left a semen stain in the girl's underwear.

Marlon Deloatch, 34, was arrested after the girl, who is now 11, told police Deloatch escorted her into a church bathroom in March and forced her to have sex with him.

Deloatch and his family used to take the girl to his church, the New Life in Christ Holy House of Prayer, in East Hartford twice a week, police records show.

Deloatch has been held on a $200,000 bond since his arrest in April. Judge Thomas Miano on Thursday reduced bail to $55,000. The judge's decision was based on DNA test results showing that Deloatch's DNA did not match the semen sample collected as evidence.

Prosecutor Christopher Pelosi said the test results were completed within the last few days, and he had received "verbal confirmation" from the lab that the DNA on the sample did not match Deloatch's. His office had not yet received the documents from the state forensic lab where the testing was done.

Similar DNA testing was used earlier this year to free an East Hartford man who had served 18 years of a 45-year sentence in prison after being convicted of raping and beating a woman as she got into her car in a downtown Hartford parking lot in 1988.

Pelosi said the semen sample had been found on one of three pairs of underwear the girl's family had submitted for testing, all of which the girl claimed she had been wearing when she was assaulted.

Deloatch told the judge that he felt the test results effectively proved his innocence.

"I didn't commit this crime," he told the judge. "I want my name cleared."

He is due back in court Jan. 17.

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