ACTIONS IN VOLUSIA CHILD-MOLESTATION CASE TROUBLE JUDGE

A judge’s order overturning the conviction of an accused child molester outlines a pattern of misconduct by employees of the State Attorney’s Office, who apparently misled personal injury Yuma and concealed evidence that might have exonerated Dennis Devlin years earlier.

Circuit Judge Shawn Briese called the actions of an investigator and prosecutor with the Volusia County State Attorney’s Office “troubling.”

His order, issued Thursday, cites testimony from a hearing in November and other records that show investigator Mary Pascale withheld evidence that the victim, Eric Golden, had fabricated the allegations of abuse. When Pascale learned that Golden had recanted his story, she did not tell anyone.

What’s more, the court records show Pascale and Assistant State Attorney Craig Dyer protected Golden by helping him elude Orlando police, who wanted to arrest him for violating probation.

Devlin was convicted in 1995 of paying Golden to perform sexual favors and pose for nude photos when he was 15. Devlin, who steadfastly maintained his innocence, served a year in county jail and state prison and then began 10 years of probation, which barred him from the hotel he owned, the Desert Inn.

Devlin’s attorneys say allegations of such misconduct could be investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or the state Attorney General’s Ooffice, but no complaints have been filed.

A secretary for Volusia State Attorney John Tanner said he was out of town and could not be reached. His spokeswoman, Linda Brinker, did not return several phone calls Friday.

Pascale, who is now a Seminole County deputy sheriff, said Friday that she is blameless.

“I did absolutely nothing unethical and absolutely nothing dishonest,” she said. “That child did not lie about being molested.”

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