An oil and gas executive was found not guilty Tuesday of charges he inappropriately touched two female relatives while they were children.
David Kozel, 49, formerly of Pine, had a nonjury trial before Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel on charges including aggravated indecent assault, unlawful contact, corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children dating back a decade.
At the time of his arrest last summer, Mr. Kozel was semiretired as vice president of Texas Keystone Inc., an oil and gas exploration firm.
During the one-day trial, the prosecution called only the two alleged victims to testify. They are now 17 and 19 years old. The Post-Gazette does not name alleged victims of sexual assault.
The young women said that Mr. Kozel inappropriately touched them while they bathed when they visited, and that he also touched them in their beds. They last visited him in 2006.
The alleged victims did not report what they claimed was happening until January 2013.
“I was really confused,” the older teen testified. “I just felt less than human, I guess.
“I was afraid. I thought he was going to hurt my family.”
During cross-examination by defense attorney William Difenderfer, the witness said she didn’t tell because what happened was shameful.
“So these visits had to be absolutely horrible,” Mr. Difenderfer said.
“Yes, sir,” the older teen said.
But Deanna Kozel, who lived with Mr. Kozel during the time frame of the alleged abuse, said there was no abuse.
“Did you ever find David in their room?” asked defense attorney Tina O. Miller.
“Never,” the witness answered. “It never happened.”
Deanna Kozel, who divorced Mr. Kozel in 2010 and is not related to the alleged victims, said that she was with the girls and Mr. Kozel almost all the time during the visits and that she never saw him act inappropriately with them. Further, she said she was the one responsible for bathing them.
In reaching her verdict, Judge McDaniel said the inconsistency in the timeline of when the girls reported the alleged abuse raised reasonable doubt.
Paula Reed Ward: email@example.com, 412-263-2620 or on Twitter: @PaulaReedWard. First Published July 22, 2014 12:00 AM