After hearing police testimony that Kenneth C. Bayer, 88, admitted to molesting a 13-year-old girl and other evidence, Judge David A. Schell certified three sexual abuse felonies against him to the grand jury.
Bayer, a Reston resident and a former volunteer at three area elementary schools, was arrested March 3 and charged with two counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of indecent exposure.
The charges were based on accusations by the girl, who said the incidents took place over several months at her home.
During questioning with detectives, Bayer admitted to sexually touching the 13-year-old and exposing himself to her on one occasion, according to testimony by Fairfax County Police Detective Richard Mullins at Bayer’s preliminary hearing in Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Friday, Aug. 12.
“He initially denied ever having done anything inappropriate, then allowed he might have touched her by accident during a massage, but eventually did admit that he had touched her,” said Mullins at the hearing.
Bayer “was trying to educate the victim on what boys might try to do to her,” according to Mullins’ testimony. Mullins also said Bayer admitted that after a shower he called to the victim and, when she looked, exposed himself to her.
MULLINS’ TESTIMONY WAS followed by the victim’s mother, who answered questions in tears. She said she’d known Bayer since 1988. When Bayer’s wife died in March of 2000, the family had taken Bayer in as an “adopted grandpa,” according to her testimony.
“He was in our house as Santa as early as 1999,” the victim’s mother testified. “He was included as part of our family since the spring of 2000,” she said, noting that he did not live with them.
Over the last five and a half years, Bayer was invited to family vacations, holiday festivities, the children’s performances and sports games and family meals, said the victim’s mother. “He was at the birth of our third daughter,” she said, crying.
On numerous occasions, Bayer had been left alone with the family’s three children, including the 13-year-old daughter, such as times when the parents took short trips to the grocery store or when he was in the basement with the children, according to testimony by the victim’s mother.
By 2004, according to her, Bayer was at the house “at least once a week.”
The girl’s mother said she called the police in March after her daughter had told her what Bayer had been doing.
The assistant commonwealth’s attorney, Marc Birnbaum, said he expected the outcome given the evidence.
“This is just a probable cause hearing where the commonwealth presented just enough evidence sufficient to show cause,” said Birnbaum. Bayer’s bond was denied and he is in jail. A Fairfax Circuit Court grand jury is expected to hear the case in September.
DURING THE HEARING, Bayer’s attorney, Steven David Stone, said that several elements for each charge had not been met to justify probable cause. “I think [Bayer] is wrongly charged,” Stone said in an interview after the hearing. “We live in a time of great hysteria.”
In his closing statements, Stone argued that the commonwealth’s attorney had not established the intent required by the statutes.
“[Bayer’s] intent was to educate,” Stone said to the court. “He was impotent. He had no sexual intent. No sexual gratification; none whatsoever. No sexual attraction. No sexual intentions,” said Stone, who asked the judge to strike the charges.
The judge, who needed no time to decide, did not agree.
“The evidence of the admission by the defendant does satisfy the motions of these charges,” said Schell, who then sent all three to the grand jury.
IN THE PAST TWO or three years, Bayer had served as a volunteer at Hunters Woods Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences, Hutchison and Dogwood elementary schools as well as the Herndon Free Clinic.
Last June, the principal of Dogwood, Ricki Harvey, was cleared of two misdemeanor charges of failing to report suspected child abuse by Bayer. A former teacher at the school testified at the June 23 trial that she had seen Bayer touch students suspiciously. Judge Ian Michael O’Flaherty dropped the first charge because it was beyond the statute of limitations. The judge then ruled that there was not enough evidence to prove the second charge, clearing Harvey of wrongdoing even before her defense attorney presented her side. Harvey, who worked for 33 years with Fairfax County Public Schools and had won a principal of the year award in 2004, retired July 1.
Bayer’s case does not relate to any of his volunteer work at the schools, and the victim in the case was not a student at Dogwood, nor ever had been. The police, according to a spokesman, are no longer investigating Bayer’s volunteer work at Dogwood.