Man facing child molestation charges could soon go to trial

by: Tony Thomas Updated:

The long, delayed trial of a well-connected Gwinnett man facing child molestation charges could soon go before a jury.

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - The long, delayed trial of a well-connected Gwinnett man facing child molestation charges could soon go before a jury.

Harry Brett Taylor was charged with 32 counts of child molestation and various sexual misconduct allegations in May of 2008, but the case has never gone to trial. Taylor has sat in the Gwinnett County Detention Center the entire time.

"It's part of the process. The stakes are high here," said Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter.

Porter told Channel 2's Tony Thomas no one in particular is to blame for the delays. He says Taylor's prominence in the area has led to most of the issues.

Taylor was a Boy Scout leader, on the County Library Board and active in the civic group Leadership Gwinnett. Because of that, Porter said, Taylor came in contact with many of the area's judges or judges' staff prior to his arrest.

Several judges have pulled themselves off the case citing potential conflicts.

"We are either on our 6th or 7th recusal," said Porter.

An appeal, ironically over a motion for speedy trial, also caused a delay as it was bounced back and forth between higher courts and the District Court.

"The chief Judge, Judge Conner, has indicated she is going to retain jurisdiction on the case, so we should be able to move in January or February for a trial date," Porter said.

That means a trial could be held by spring.

No alleged victim or relative wanted to speak on camera about the case or delays, but one accuser did write in an email to Thomas:

"It's left us in limbo. We can't move on and begin the healing process with this dark cloud still hovering over us. There is always the reminder that at some time in the future I am going to be in a courtroom reliving the horrible experience that he put me through."

The parent of one of the accusers also wrote in a different email:

"To the children, it must feel like they are not that important, because if they were, adults would have done something like this sooner. This is what my child has said to me and I cannot really argue with it."

Porter said he is hopeful that the case can get to a jury early this year, but knows anything is still possible.

"He's in a position to fight a long legal fight so we knew we were in for a long legal fight from the beginning," Porter said.

Taylor's attorney Bernard Brody told Thomas that Taylor maintains his innocence and has also been harmed by numerous delays. Brody said Taylor has been eager to go to trial for a long time.