Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Daniel Keck - Boyraper case in the hands of the jury

A man on trial for allegedly molesting young boys had his Marietta home compared to Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch in Tuesday's closing arguments.

Daniel Keck could get 145 years in prison if he's convicted on 35 felony counts ranging from kidnapping, to child pornography and rape.

"Think about this, three separate boys experience the same thing. They got to wake up with their shorts pulled off and vaseline on their backsides," said Washington County Prosecutor Kevin Rings.
The 43-year-old engineer occassionally glanced at jurors and his family seated in the courtroom. Family of the young victims were nearby.

Prosecutors say DNA evidence, along with testimony, pictures and videos prove Keck's guilt.

Keck's lawyer said his client didn't lure young boys to his home.

"What did he have in his house that the boys didn't have already? Computer, X-Box, their friends. What did he have? It wasn't like Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch with rides, toys, and games," said Rolf Baumgartel.

Besides the felony charges, prosecutors are also looking to take possession of Keck's computer, cameras, and house.

The jury of 10 women and 4 men are now deliberating the case.

After breaking for the night at 7:30pm, they will return to the Washington County Courthouse at 9am Wednesday morning.


While Daniel A. Keck II said a video he made with a 12-year-old boy was "disgusting" and "not right," the Marietta man often had no answer at all to questions posed by Washington County prosecutors Friday.

Keck, who took the stand Thursday in his child pornography and sexual abuse case, was cross-examined for more than two hours Friday. He is facing 145 years in prison for charges ranging from rape to producing child pornography.

Meanwhile, out of the presence of jurors Friday, there was legal wrangling over a newly discovered photo of three naked boys that seemed to contradict testimony earlier this week from a witness in defense of Keck.

The witness, a boy who had spent time with Keck, had a new subpoena issued for him Friday afternoon and a deputy was sent to bring him back to court from school before prosecutors decided they would not make him take the stand again.

The boy testified Wednesday that he had never engaged in sex acts with Keck or other boys and had never witnessed any acts between the other boys.

The photo, found by a computer expert on Keck's computer over the weekend, showed the witness and two other boys, all naked, on one of Keck's beds, with two of the boys appearing to be engaged in intercourse.

"This clearly shows that he was not telling the truth when he made those statements and is not a reliable witness," said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings.

Washington County Common Pleas Judge Ed Lane ruled that the photo could not be introduced as evidence unless the boy could be put back on the stand and questioned about it.

Rings said ultimately he didn't feel that was the right thing to do.

"We felt it was simply not worth it because we believe he is as much a victim as the other boys," he said. "We didn't think it was appropriate to put him through that."

Five other boys had testified earlier in the trial about being abused by Keck or being encouraged or forced by Keck to engage in sex acts with other boys. Other boys testified for the defense that they had seen no abuse.

Testimony ended Friday in the trial, with closing arguments and jury instruction to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

As he was cross-examined Friday, Keck, 43, of 407 Edgewood Drive, said he took full responsibility for making a video of a nude 12-year-old boy that also showed Keck nude and included some sexually suggestive conversation.

"The whole thing is embarrassing," he said. "It was disgusting, it was not the thing to do, and I take responsibility. I want to apologize to that kid, his mother ... but it was a one-time thing."

Keck said he participated in the video because the child asked him.

"I'm a modest person," he said. "When he started filming me I tried to cover myself up."

Later in the video, Keck sings and dances nude as the boy holds the camera.

Keck maintained that he isn't sexually attracted to young boys.

"That tape today does not make me horny," he said.

The soft-spoken Keck said he was never anything but a mentor to the boys. At one point Friday, he was asked to speak up so the jury could hear.

Again and again as he was questioned Friday, the former engineer put the blame for pornographic photos, videos and alleged abuse on the group of boys who spent time at his home and went on vacations with him.

He said he didn't know who had taken the majority of images found on his camera and computer, but that it must have been the boys.

Keck said he believed that some of the children may have been abused but it was by the other boys in the home and not by him. Others who testified against him had been coerced, he said.

"All five of those boys lied about you?" Rings asked him. "When we saw (a boy) on the witness stand cry his eyes out for 10 or 15 minutes during testimony, that was coerced?"

"He has been brainwashed to believe that it happened," Keck responded.

Keck said he thought something had happened to the one boy in a bedroom in his home but it was the other boys who did it.

"They got him to believe I did it," he said.

Several times, Keck did not have a response for questions from Rings, such as when he was asked how there could be so many photos of naked boys taken in his house without him knowing who took them. Keck said he was the only adult ever in the home with the boys.

Rings said several of Keck's theories made no sense, including one that a boy might have taken photos on Keck's camera while on a trip and then later snuck into his home and put them on his computer without Keck's knowledge.

Keck also raised the possibility of a conspiracy among several of the boys, spanning several years, with the aim of getting him in trouble.

"I did my best with the kids I had," he said. "That's the kind of kids I had to deal with."

Regarding a second video, that showed two boys masturbating at Keck's home and where the man's voice is heard mentioning Crisco, Rings said it is ridiculous for Keck to have thought that they were playing with race cars, as Keck claimed.

"You give them Crisco, they're completely naked and you think they're playing race cars?" he said.

Keck said the boys were from troubled homes and misbehaved, sometimes in sexual ways, without his knowledge.

"I grew up in a conservative home. ... I had no thoughts they'd be engaged in that behavior in my house," he said.

Keck testified that he often slept in the same bed as one boy because the child was afraid to sleep alone and that he once slept with a group of boys because they fell asleep watching a movie.

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