Jury finds man innocent on rape charges

Staff photo by Damien Fisher Brendan Breen hugs one of his attorneys, Marc Gouthro, after the jury found him innocent on all 12 felony counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault.

NASHUA – Jailed since November, Brendan Breen faced the possibility of decades behind bars for aggravated felonious sexual assault before the jury returned 12 not guilty verdicts Friday afternoon.

Breen cried and hugged his lawyers, and then family members and supporters after the jury foreman read off all 12 verdicts, clearing Breen of charges he sexually assaulted his former girlfriend’s young daughter. Breen’s lawyers, Ryan Guptill and Marc Gouthro, declined to comment, as did Breen.

The alleged victim and her family ran out of the courtroom shortly after all the verdicts were read.

Breen was arrested in November after the girl, then 13, accused him of sexually assaulting her. She claimed the abused started when she was in fourth grade, according to court records and testimony.

The girl’s mother testified that her daughter told her about the abuse when she was in fourth grade, but she did not believe the child at the time. The girl claimed that she was sexually assaulted at least once a week for four years. She told her mother about the abuse again on Oct. 31, via text message. At that time, the mother took her daughter to police.

Breen, however, adamantly denied the abuse from the moment he was arrested, and continued to strongly deny the abuse in court. The defense put forward the theory that the girl made up the abuse as a way to harm Breen, who she saw as being too much of a disciplinarian. It was a lie that got out of control, Guptill told the jury.

On Halloween, Breen did not allow the girl to leave the house to trick or treat with her friends, and she retaliated by making up the story of abuse and telling her mother, Guptill said.

About midway through his closing argument on Thursday, Guptill, replayed a brief segment of his client’s post-arrest interview with police.

Guptill asked the jury to listen to Breen’s reaction when one of the detectives suggested he and the girl may have been having a consensual relationship.

“Excuse me?” Breen shouted. “(The alleged victim) is 13 years old. She’s 13 … there’s no sort of consent she can have,” he added, sounding agitated. The clip ends with Breen saying “no” three or four times.

Never during the nearly two-hour police interview did Breen admit to “doing anything” with the girl, Guptill told the jury.

The jury deliberated for roughly an hour and a half on Thursday, before getting sent home for the day. The five women and seven men on the jury deliberated for about four hours on Friday before reaching the verdict.

Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245 or dfisher@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DF.