A November 28 preliminary hearing for a Madison County man was stopped and continued for tomorrow (Wednesday, Dec. 5) after the alleged teenage victim broke down emotionally and was unable to continue with testimony last week in Carroll County General Sessions Court.
Joseph Fallon, 34, of Jackson has been charged with aggravated kidnapping and contributing to the delinquency of a minor for allegedly abducting 13-year-old Acia Ross of Huntingdon on Halloween night and taking her across state lines before being caught by authorities that next day in Gainesville, Florida.
During the November 28 hearing, Acia testified that she had first met Fallon online on a dating app called “Secret.” She said Fallon came to her home on Friday, Oct. 26, picked her up, and drove her to his apartment in Jackson, where she stayed the night until her mother found out where she was and came and picked her up that next morning.
Acia said her mother took her cell phone away until Halloween, when Acia asked to go trick-or-treating with some friends in Bruceton and asked for her phone so she could contact her mother to come get her later that night.
Acia said she and Fallon made contact by cell phone while she was with her friends, and he drove to Bruceton, where he met up with them.
According to Acia, she and a 15-year-old female friend got in Fallon’s vehicle, and he drove them to Old Railroad Spirits in Bruceton and bought them a six-pack of beer.
She said they drove back to where her friends were and gave them the beer.
At that point Acia’s mother called her and told her to come home, and Fallon asked Acia to come with him to Jackson again, according to testimony.
When asked by Assistant District James Webb if Fallon had forced her to get in the vehicle with him, Acia said that Fallon had not threatened her in any way.
“I was just scared if I didn’t,” said Acia.
When Webb questioned her about what had transpired between her and Fallon at his apartment that night, Acia became emotional, and Judge Larry Logan allowed her to take a brief break to compose herself.
After returning to the stand, Acia testified that sexual intercourse had occurred between her and Fallon, though she said that she did not agree to it.
She said that next morning she asked Fallon to take her home, but he drove her to Florida instead.
It was during cross examination by public defender Billy Roe, who is serving as Fallon’s attorney, that the hearing was halted.
Roe asked Acia if she had been on other online dating sites besides “Secret.” At that point, she became emotional again and was escorted from the courtroom by a court officer. It was announced a few minutes later that Acia would not be able to continue with testimony.
Roe pointed out that it is his client’s constitutional right to question his accusers.
Webb said he would agree to a reduction in Fallon’s bond if Judge Logan would not dismiss the case and allow for a continuation.
Logan reduced Fallon’s bond from $75,000 to $25,000 and set the hearing to continue on December 5.
The judge also challenged Webb and Rowe to rethink their strategies and methods in the meantime.
“This will give you both a chance to do some research about how to make a court environment more child friendly,” said Logan.