Man acquitted of inappropriate conduct

Relatives pushed claims of touching

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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: pward@post-ga­, 412-263-2620 or on Twit­ter: @Pau­laReedWard. First Published July 22, 2014 12:00 AM

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