Jury convicts man of repetitive sexual battery
(Photo courtesy BILL OXFORD)
Staff Writer | January 19, 2022 1:00 AM
SANDPOINT — A Priest River man was convicted by a jury on Friday on a count of sexual battery against a minor.
Norman David Browne, 66, was not convicted on an additional charge of lewd conduct in this case. Details of the trial are not readily accessible in court documents.
From 2015 through 2019, Browne assaulted the victim multiple times by placing his mouth on regions of her body at his residence in Priest River. The victim came forward to a family member after intense questioning. The victim’s family reported the abuse to Bonner County detectives shortly after.
Browne will appear for sentencing in front of First District Judge Barbara Buchanan, although a date has not yet been determined. Sexual battery against a minor has a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine.
A grand jury indicted Browne in May 2019, finding probable cause for a count of lewd conduct, and another charge of sexual battery. The repeat sexual battery behavior occurred over ten times, according to the victim’s testimony in May 2021.
The grand jury also indicted Browne for offenses against a second victim. Buchanan severed the charges on Sept. 9, 2019.
When a judge severs charges, it means that the counts against a defendant proceed through the court process without knowledge or information of the other charges. Meaning, the jury cannot know about the other cases or charges a defendant is facing. A judge can choose to do this in order to prevent the defendant from being wrongfully convicted in a case due to conduct from a different case.
Browne’s defense attorney, Monica Marie Flood Brennan, filed a motion to sever the charges in July 2019.
“Having two victims in one trial has a tendency to unduly prejudice the defendant. The facts and circumstances of each case and count are completely separate and distinct and should be tried separately,” Flood Brennan said in the motion.
A mistrial was declared in May 2021 when a witness mentioned details involving the other victim while on the record.
A trial for offenses against the second victim will be held in February. In that case, Browne is facing charges of lewd conduct and sexual battery against a minor.
Browne has nine other cases in the Idaho court database, all for small claims and infractions.
Many victims of sexual assault will confide in a trustworthy person before reporting to law enforcement. In this case, the victim’s family reported allegations to Bonner County Detectives. There are 24/7 resources available for those who wish to seek justice. LillyBrooke Family Justice Center can be reached at 208-265-3586. Bonner County Dispatch can be reached at 208-265-5525, they can connect victims with area advocates who specialize in these types of offenses. There is no time-limit for reporting sex crimes against minors.