Portions of testimony in decades-old sexual assault allegations to be used in man's case
Portions of testimony from three witnesses who allege an Ypsilanti man molested them nearly 40 years ago will be allowed at trial, a Washtenaw County Trial Court judge ruled this week.
Dervin Mood, 76, is charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting a man between 2003 and 2011 in his home in the 900 block of Pleasant Drive in Ypsilanti. The man was reportedly 12,15,16 and 19 years old when the assaults occurred.
As Mood’s case moves toward trial, the prosecution wants to use the testimony of three other people who allege Mood molested them four decades ago. Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Darlene O’Brien said Monday that parts of their testimony could be used at trial, while other portions must be excluded.
John Shea, Mood’s attorney, said the testimony of the three people would be more prejudicial than relevant. He said the allegations were so old that there would be no way to defend Mood against them with an alibi.
“They essentially can’t be confronted,” he said.
Mood is charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was convicted in March on one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in an Oakland County case involving the same victim.
Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor Robyn Liddell argued the testimony of the three alleged victims will be important to prove Mood had a prior history of sexual assault. That prior history is important because the defense plans to argue the claims made by the alleged victim in the Washtenaw County case are not true.
“The other acts as evidence are probative because they rebut the claim that the victim is not telling the truth,” Liddell said.
No charges were filed related to the accusations of the three individuals. The allegations came forward after Mood was charged in the more recent cases.
Shea said in court Monday the judge in the Oakland County case did not allow the testimony from the three individuals to be used at trial.
Shea clarified that the defense does not plan to argue the man made up the claims but that the claims of sexual assault are delusions brought on by his mental illness. The man has Asperger’s syndrome and other mental health issues.
“The defense has always been these acts did not occur,” Shea said.
Mood was on federal court probation for possession of child pornography when he was charged in the Washtenaw County case. He is a former school teacher and child care provider.
The trial in the Washtenaw County case is scheduled to begin on April 29, and Mood is expected to be sentenced in the Oakland County case on April 10. He’s held in the Oakland County Jail on a $75,000 cash bond.