TULSA - After 12 hours of deliberations, a jury found a former Tulsa Public Schools assistant principal guilty on three of five sex abuse and molestation charges.
Robert Yerton Jr., a former Skelly Elementary School assistant principal, was accused of sexually abusing several young boys over an eight-year period.
Yerton passed out before the verdict was read at 2:20 a.m., but the judge proceeded while EMSA paramedics were en route to the Tulsa County Courthouse.
The verdict was:
Count 1 - Lewd molestation of a 6-year-old boy at Skelly Elementary - not guilty
Count 2 - Child sexual abuse of a family member - guilty
Count 3 - Child sexual abuse of a family member - guilty
Count 4 - Lewd molestation of an 8-year-old boy at Skelly Elementary - guilty
Count 5 - Lewd molestation of a 7-year-old boy at Disney Elementary - not guilty
The jury recommended a total of 27 years behind bars, including two 12-year sentences for each for the sexual abuse counts and a three-year sentence for the molestation count. The prosecutor will ask that the sentences be served consecutively.
Following the verdict, Yerton was taken to a Tulsa hospital for observation. He was booked into the Tulsa County Jail without bond just before 4 a.m. Friday.
His defense attorney said they will appeal the conviction.
Throughout the trial, Yerton's alleged victims, including a family member, and several coworkers took the stand, testifying about their experiences with him or incidents they witnessed involving him and young boys.
On Wednesday, Yerton surprised the courtroom when he took the stand to testify on his own behalf. He denied ever sexually abusing the boys.
The courtroom was packed Thursday as both sides delivered their closing arguments. Yerton's family and friends filled the seats, along with employees of the district attorney's office.
Yerton's lawyer, Richard O'Carroll, was crying at the end of his closing argument, saying these allegations were baseless are the result of a lynch mob mentality.
O'Carroll also questioned the trustworthiness of many of the prosecution's witnesses.
State prosecutors contend the amount of evidence and number of alleged victims are too substantial to be ignored.
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