Man Cleared of Assaults on Son
The Daily News
Published October 12, 2005
TEXAS CITY — For Peter Michael Reed, four years of living under suspicion ended after about
15 minutes of jury deliberation Tuesday afternoon.
The 33-year-old was acquitted of charges he had sexually molested his then 8-year-old son. The
verdict brought forward plenty of emotions from Reed as well as his ex-wife.
“I believed it would be a quick decision, but I was a little surprised it was that fast,” Reed said.
As Judge Susan Criss read two “not guilty” verdicts, Reed’s ex-wife got up and walked out of
the courtroom in tears and was unavailable for comment following the verdict.
Seconds later, every member of Reed’s family in attendance was also in tears, as they hugged
each other and thanked defense attorney Tad A. Nelson IV.
The 212th State District Court jury’s quick verdict ended Reed’s seven-day trial. Reed had been
facing charges of sexual performance by a child and aggravated sexual assault of a child.
The charges pertained to alleged attacks against Reed’s son, now 12, in Texas City between 1999
Prosecutor Xochitl Vandiver told jurors the child had not immediately reported the attacks
because he feared his father.
However, Nelson argued that the allegations were the product of a contentious custody issue
between the two parents.
“It was always about visitation,” said Nelson, who characterized the child’s mother as “a blatant
Vandiver said attempts to demonize the child’s mother comprised a “rabbit trail,” designed to
distract jurors from Reed’s guilt.
Nelson, however, said doctor visits offered as proof of abuse did not match the child’s visitation
periods with Reed. He also accused the woman of forging documents that indicated abuse,
including one that purported to be from a doctor who later said he did not even know the child.
Vandiver showed jurors a picture of a nude child that the boy had claimed was him, saying that
picture could not have been a creation of the mother’s.
“There is no explanation for that picture,” she said, in closing arguments Tuesday.
However, the child’s face was not in the picture.
After the verdict, Reed said the family and friends who had supported him throughout his legal
struggle had been invaluable.
“I just couldn’t thank them enough,” Reed said.
Reed also said he would soon be back in court, suing to reassert his parental rights, now that he
had been cleared.
“That’s a problem we’ll struggle with for a while,” he said. “The thing I always put first is, what
will be the best thing for the child,” he said. “I think my being part of his life is in his best