Dayton man let out of prison after child rape conviction overturned

A Dayton man convicted of raping a child placed in his temporary custody by Montgomery County Children Services had his conviction overturned and has bonded out of jail.

Teaven Lee Curtiss, 53, was sentenced in 2020 to serve life in prison in connection to the sexual assault of a 4-year-old family member. But he appealed that conviction.

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

A ruling from the Second District Court of Appeals found that Curtiss did not receive a fair trial. Some of the issues involved access to children services records and questions the defense was allowed to ask during the trial.

“While records of a children’s services agency pertaining to abuse are confidential, the trial court abused its discretion by failing to disclose relevant and material records... ” a summary of the opinion says. “The court also violated appellant’s right to confrontation to appellant’s prejudice by limiting his right to cross-examine a primary prosecution witness.”

The court also said hearsay evidence was wrongly admitted.

This month, a visiting judge issued a $500,000 surety bond. Court records show Curtiss posted the bond and he is not listed as an inmate in the Montgomery County Jail.

“This court cannot predict who will prevail at trial, nor is it appropriate or necessary for the court to even speculate on the matter,” retired judge Jerry McBride wrote. “The court would simply note that the result of the first trial is not necessarily indicative as to what the result of the second trial will be.”

McBride also ordered Curtiss to be monitored electronically and to have no contact with the alleged victim.

The Dayton Daily News was the first to report that Dayton Police were investigating allegations that two children were placed by Children Services in a home with sexual assault suspects. The report says before Montgomery County Children Services placed the children in his home, Curtiss was the suspect of multiple sex-related crimes dating back to 2006 but was never convicted.

The report also says a teenager living in the home previously was accused of sexually assaulting a child in another county.

The report says a 4-year-old girl and her brother told their mother that she was being sexually assaulted by Curtiss, but the girl was not removed from the home after it was reported to Children Services. A lawsuit has been filed by the child’s mother against the county.

Motions to dismiss the criminal case have been filed by Curtiss’ attorneys and prosecutors have replied asking a judge to deny those motions.

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