SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 11, 2014

Cop case in jury's hands

Deliberations to continue Monday in abuse trial

PEABODY — The attorney for a suspended Peabody police officer accused of molesting his former stepdaughter argued to jurors yesterday that the young woman’s account lacks credibility.

A prosecutor, meanwhile, urged jurors to use their “gut” and their common sense when they consider the evidence against Frederick Wojick, 49.

Wojick, an 11-year veteran of the Peabody department, who had also worked for the University of Massachusetts campus police in Lowell and in the town of Essex, is facing nine counts of indecent assault and battery and two counts of disseminating obscene material to a minor.

A Lawrence Superior Court jury began considering his fate yesterday morning. They deliberated for nearly four hours. Then, in an unusual move, the jury reported to the judge that it had reached verdicts on nine of the 11 counts but needed more time to consider the remaining charges.

As a result, Judge Douglas Wilkins had the envelope containing the verdicts handed back to the jury forewoman, saying he would not ask them to announce the verdicts until they had reached decisions on all of the counts. It is not known which counts the jury had decided or how it found. Jurors will return on Monday.

Wojick is accused of repeatedly touching the girl inappropriately, of having her touch him, and of seating her, and on one occasion a second girl, on his lap while viewing pornography. The girl told police the abuse started when she was about 11.

“The government is asking you to ruin him based on the allegations of a young lady whose flaws of credibility are glaring and wide open,” said defense lawyer Thomas Drechsler in his closing argument yesterday.

“The Commonwealth isn’t asking you to ruin anybody,” countered prosecutor Kate MacDougall. “The Commonwealth is asking you to honor the oath you took as jurors, to find the truth.”

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