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Local man convicted in sexual assault of girl

An Ellsworth man was found guilty Thursday on charges in the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl three years ago.

Todd London, 41, was convicted on counts of sexual assault of a child and sexual contact with a child. The verdict followed a two-day jury trial in Pierce County Circuit Court. A sentencing date hadn't been scheduled as of Friday.

The case originated in the summer of 2003, when the girl was up late at London's Ellsworth home as he and his wife came home from a bar, apparently intoxicated.

London was verbally abusive toward the girl and his wife, who went to bed, the complaint states. London then struck the girl on the side of her head with his fist, knocking her onto a couch. She said he began choking her and putting his hands over her mouth so she couldn't scream.

The girl told authorities she thought things "were over" and was going to die. London continued choking the girl and holding her down with his knee. She said he then began fondling her.

London eventually tried having sex with the girl, but London's wife came out of a bathroom and stopped the assault. The girl fled the room, but told authorities she could hear London yelling at his wife and hitting her.

Public records show a woman filed a child abuse restraining order and a harassment restraining order against London in 2003.

District Attorney John O'Boyle said in court Thursday only two people actually know what happened, referring to London and the girl. There had been another witness who has since died, O'Boyle said.

The district attorney asked the jury to remember the girl's testimony in court Wednesday. He also reminded jury members a lack of physical evidence doesn't mean no crime occurred; the girl disclosed the story this spring.

O'Boyle said the girl was embarrassed and afraid of what others would think if she told them. Earlier, he had said it had been easy for him to decide to charge London because the girl's accounts included high levels of detail.

London's attorney, Aaron Nelson of Hudson, in court Thursday called the girl's words "unsupportable, unreliable and unbelievable." Besides criticizing the number of witnesses and amount of evidence, Nelson said the girl changed her story. The attorney also said, once London denied the girl's accusations, he didn't need to say more.

The jury deliberated through the noon hour. London could face up to 60 years in prison.