DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) – A man who was accused with others of assaulting a boy at parties for people dressed in animal costumes has been acquitted of all charges.
Kenneth Fenske, 57, of Quakertown, was cleared by a jury on Friday, almost a year after he was charged.
Prosecutors alleged the boy was abused at furry parties beginning in 2009. The boy said he was forced to dress as Tony the Tiger and his attacker sometimes wore a full-body fox costume.
Defense attorney Steven Fairlie, who maintained the charges stemmed from an attempt by the boy’s family to profit off his client’s wealth, described the case as “extremely emotional.”
“There was a lot of inflammatory testimony in the case,” he said. “I was happy that the jury was able to set aside any preconceived notions about the furry community and decide the case on the evidence presented in court.”
Fairlie, in his closing argument, pointed to inconsistencies in the testimony of the boy, who is now 16, and said his demeanor lacked a “ring of truth.” He said a fur suit said by the boy to have been worn during at least one of the episodes had not been in his client’s possession until 2015.
Deputy Attorney General Michele Walsh argued the case didn’t hinge on the fox costume and was “not about money.”
“It’s about a child being raped,” Walsh said. “… The mutilation of a child’s spirit is something that can’t be fixed.”
Three other men and a woman await trial in the case. Another man pleaded guilty to child sex trafficking and is awaiting sentencing.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.