Jury finds Philhower guilty of rape

DOVER — A Kent County jury found a 34-year-old Smyrna man guilty of third-degree rape and three counts of dealing in child pornography Friday in connection with a sexual relationship he had with a 13-year-old girl in 2014.

Harold E. Philhower was found not guilty of two counts each of second-degree unlawful contact and fourth-degree rape by the jury of nine women and three men in Kent County Superior Court.

He exhibited no visible reaction as the verdict was announced at approximately 10:30 a.m.

28dsn Harold Philhower by . The guilty findings were Class B felonies, with mandatory minimum sentencing of two years prison time for each count and up to 25 years possible.

The case stemmed around interactions between Philhower and a girl he met at the Kaizen Karate Academy in Dover.

Kent County Resident Judge William L. Witham ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set a court date of March 30.

Philhower’s bond was revoked due to mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines and remains held by the Delaware Department of Correction. He was arrested on Oct. 6, 2014, after being interviewed by a Dover Police Department detective.

Deputy Attorney General Kathleen Dickerson declined comment afterward.

She met privately with the girl and family members following the verdict at the Kent County Courthouse.

About 20 people were in the courtroom audience when the jury returned.

Before declining further comment, defense attorney William Deely said, “The jury has spoken.”

During the trial, the girl testified she had transmitted three inappropriate photos of herself to Philhower upon his request.

While no photos were located by investigators, the prosecution presented Philhower’s videotaped interview with police in October 2014 as evidence.

The rape count centered on a parking lot encounter at Kaizen Karate Academy.

Philhower was facing a second-degree rape charge, but the jury found it to be a third-degree lesser included offense.

The jury began deliberations just after 2:30 p.m. Thursday before being dismissed early in the evening. The verdict was returned Friday by about 10 a.m.

According to testimony, a man witnessed Mr. Philhower and the girl making possible unlawful contact while outside during an August 2014 birthday party at the karate academy, and he then contacted authorities.

Philhower took the stand briefly on Thursday to testify and answered “no” several times when Mr. Deely asked him questions if the allegations were true.

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