ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - A mistrial was declared late Wednesday night in the case of a former East Allen County elementary school teacher accused of sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old boy.
After more than eight hours of deliberation, the jury left the Allen County Courthouse just after 11 pm. A hearing to set a new trial date is scheduled for November 7th at 8:30 am.
The trial opened Tuesday with the teen testifying he and 29-year-old Kristi Metzger were together more than 10-times last year, and that Metzger gave him alcohol.
But the Defense pointed out conflicting statements by the teen and said he had concocted a fantasy.
A jury must now decide who to believe in a case of he said, she said involving a former teacher accused of sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old boy.
29-year-old Kristi Metzger is charged with two class D felony counts of sexual misconduct of a minor for allegedly having sex with the teen. She is also charged with one count of class C felony sexual misconduct with a minor for allegedly engaging in fondling and inappropriate touching. Metzger faces an addition class C misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for allegedly providing alcohol to the 15-year-old.
After six rounds of jury selection, a panel of four men, eight women, and one male alternate were selected Tuesday morning. Allen County Superior Court Judge Fran Gull is presiding over the trial, which is expected to last three days.
During opening statements, Allen County Deputy Prosecutor Stacey Speith and Defense Attorney Robert (Bob) Gevers painted two very different pictures of what transpired between Metzger and the then-15-year-old.
Speith claimed a sexual relationship between the two first formed in April 2010 and continued past the boy's 16th birthday in July 2010. Due to requirements under the law, Speith is concentrating on the allegations occurring from April until July.
She said although the relationship was consensual, it was illegal due to the boy's age. Speith added that any conflict in statements from the alleged victim are due to his initial concern for her and fear of getting in trouble.
Gevers, however, said a sexual relationship never took place at all. Metzger has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and Gevers says the teen merely had a crush on his friend's mother who lived down the street. Gevers claimed the relationship was a fantasy.
In court Tuesday, the alleged victim, who is now 17-years-old and junior in the East Allen County School district, testified that he would often spend time at the Metzger residence. He said nothing happened until the night he heard about the death of a close friend. That April evening, he said Metzger gave him three to four beers and then invited him into her detached, three car garage to have sex with him. He claims he said yes, and the two engaged in sexual intercourse on a couch in the garage.
During this time, the teen said Metzger's husband and two children were inside the house. The husband was sleeping, he said, while the two spent nearly an hour in the garage.
When asked how many times the two had sexual intercourse, the teen said ten to twenty times. When asked how many times the two were involved in oral sex, he said four or five times. He said he would often walk to her home before school, after school, and on weekends.
He said they had sex in the garage, on a car in the garage, on a chest freezer in the garage, on the couch inside, and in her bed. Sometimes, he said, Metzger's children and husband were home. He said they also engaged in inappropriate contact while Metzger's young daughter was in the same bed.
The teen said he shared this secret with several friends, but cared for Metzger a great deal and did not want her to get in trouble. He testified that Metzger would sometimes say that what they were doing was wrong and that they should stop. However, he also said that Metzger was the aggressor in the relationship.
A friend he was arguing with, he testified, told guidance counselors at school about the relationship. He said he initially denied any sexual relationship because of what might happen to him or Metzger. When questioned by his mother and step-father, he also denied the allegations, but later that same night told his mother "the truth".
The defense pointed out several conflicting statements made in court compared to when he was interviewed by the Allen County Sheriff's Department. They also questioned how so many people could have been in the house without knowing the two were having sex.
When asked by a jury member why he decided to tell the truth now, he said, "I realized what she did was wrong."
Also on the witness stand Tuesday was a member of the Allen County Sheriff's Department, who testified briefly that he took the teen's statement in February. At that time, he said the teen was claiming to have had a sexual relationship with Metzger.
The teen's step-father also testified about how the 17-year-old initially denied a relationship and then told his mother it was true later that same night.
His mother testified that both she and his step-father left early for work and wouldn't have known if he was going to Metzger's before school. She said she knew her son was lying when he denied the relationship, and she got him counseling after he told her about Metzger. She told school officials that it was being taken care of as a family, but later called police at the teen's therapist's request.
The high school counselor also took the stand to testify about how she came to find out about the sexual allegations. She said another student had told her and she passed the information along to administrators.
The principal and vice principal at the school where the teen went also took the stand. They said that they had a meeting with the teen, who claimed he had made everything up. They also sat down with Metzger in late January, who both said appeared shocked upon hearing the allegations.
Metzger was an elementary school teacher in the East Allen County School district. The alleged victim was never a student. Metzger was let go from EACS for an undisclosed reason said to be unrelated to these allegations.
The jury trial will continue for three days, with a verdict expected on Thursday.
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