Not guilty of child molesting

Herbert Crane Jr.

La PORTE – A La Porte County man who was facing over 100 years in prison on various charges of child molestation was found not guilty by a jury in La Porte County Circuit Court on Wednesday.

Herbert Crane Jr., 38, faced four counts of child molesting, a Level 1 felony; along with three Level 4 felony counts, but was found not guilty of all charges after the jury deliberated for more than five hours.

Crane, a Hanna resident, was initially taken into custody on May 1, 2018, after a judge found probable cause for the charges to be filed.

He was accused by a family member, who reported being sexually abused by Crane when the accuser was about 10 years old, according to prosecutors.

Several of Crane’s family members lived in the same neighborhood, and the accuser was often looked after at their residences after school. One of those residences belonged to Crane’s grandmother, where he was living at the time of the alleged incidents, according to court records.

The abuse was initially reported to the accuser’s cousin, who encouraged the accuser to report it to their mother, prosecutors said.

Using a note taking app on their mother's cell phone, the accuser wrote a note explaining that Crane had sexually abused them three years prior, according to prosecutors.

Court documents show the victim’s mother first contacted police in August 2018 about the incidents, which were alleged to have occurred between January 2014 and October 2016.

The accuser was examined at Dunebrook in Michigan City, where a forensic interview was conducted. Examiners found complications that were consistent with penetration, according to prosecutors.

The trial lasted three days, and after the lengthy deliberation, Crane was found not guilty on all seven counts.

He was escorted from the courtroom by officers and was in negotiation for his release from the La Porte County Jail, where he had been held on a $100,000 cash bond since his arrest.

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