A judge on Wednesday dropped one count of sexual misconduct against a former Modesto Junior College instructor and police officer because a woman the prosecution says was a victim refused to continue her testimony. Two counts remain.
Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Marie Silveiracalled it an “extraordinary step” to drop a charge against a defendant because someone said to have been a victim refused to continue with cross-examination.
But she said the defendant would be deprived of a fair trial if he had to face a charge when the woman refused to complete her testimony.
The trial will continue for Francisco “Frank” Jose Drumond, but he will face charges only of committing lewd acts with a child. He is accused of sexually molesting two underage girls who were friends of his daughter.
Frank Carson, Drumond’s defense attorney, says the allegations are false and his client is innocent.
Silveira dropped a count of oral copulation by force against Drumond. The woman who refused to continue testifying was a 17-year-old police Explorer more than 20 years ago, when she claims Drumond forced her to perform oral sex on him. She’s identified in court as “Jane Doe 3.”
Carson has told the jury that his client was a 24-year-old man then, and that Jane Doe 3 was 18 and 19 years old when she had consensual sex with the defendant. He has said it was more than one isolated incident.
On Wednesday, Jane Doe 3 was appointed a defense attorney to represent her because she could face a contempt-of-court charge for refusing to complete her testimony. Jane Doe 3 spoke to her attorney, and she then told the judge she would not continue to answer questions on the witness stand.
Outside the jury’s presence, Silveira ordered Jane Doe 3 to undergo 10 hours of personal counseling. She also ordered her to return in two months to verify she has undergone the counseling. Then, the judge excused Jane Doe 3 from the trial.
Deputy District Attorney Beth O’Hara De Jong then told the judge that Carson had a “harassing tone” during cross-examination of Jane Doe 3. The prosecutor also said the cross-examination was adequate, so the trial should proceed with all the listed charges against Drumond.
The judge said the cross-examination was detailed, and she upheld the prosecutor’s objections when Carson’s questions were unreasonable. But she said she would have to dismiss the oral copulation charge, because Jane Doe 3 refused to continue her testimony.
After the jury was sent back into the courtroom, Silveira ordered the jurors to disregard all the testimony from Jane Doe 3. She also informed them that count 3 in the case had been dismissed.
“You are not to speculate why this is happening nor infer anything from it,” the judge told the jury. “It is as if count 3 had never been charged.”
The defendant resigned from his job as a reserve Ripon police officer days after police showed up at his Modesto home to investigate allegations of lewd acts with the teenage girls.
Drumond previously worked as a police officer in Modesto and Patterson. He was arrested during a staff meeting Aug. 28, 2009, at the MJC East Campus, where he taught criminal justice, police officials have said.