CLEVELAND – The Investigator, Tom Meyer, has learned that a court official might have tipped the scales of justice in a Cleveland rape case.
Convicted felon Terry Brown was accused of raping a 14-year-old girl in her own bedroom.
"If you see (Brown), watch your children," a family member of the alleged victim said. "That's all I can say.
"I believe he's a child predator."
When confronted by The Investigator, Brown said that he's not a sexual predator. In fact, he said that he was the victim, not the child.
He might be right, but it's likely we'll never know who's telling the truth, thanks to serious allegations of misconduct against Tom Kilbane (pictured, above).
When Action News confronted Kilbane, he quickly moved to have the crew thrown out of his office, and refused to comment.
Kilbane is a bailiff for Judge Nancy McDonnell, which means he helps run her courtroom.
In open court, one can hear and see everything that goes on. That, however, is not the case when the jury deliberates behind closed doors. And it was in a behind-closed-doors meeting that Kilbane is accused of being way out of line.
Tamila Campbell served on the jury which could not reach a verdict in the Brown case. Jurors told Kilbane that they were a hung jury, meaning Brown would get a new trial.
Campbell signed a sworn affidavit alleging that Kilbane pressured her and other jurors to compromise and reach a verdict.
"He put a vice on me," Campbell said. "We were all undecided.
"When he told us we couldn't be a hung jury that put a clamp on us. I didn't want to compromise, but I did because he told us we couldn't be a hung jury."
All of this wasn't known until a chance encounter at a grocery store between Campbell and the attorney defending Brown. By then, the trial was over and the jury decided that Brown was not guilty of rape, but guilty of kidnapping and intimidation.
Did Kilbane force a compromise verdict? We don't know because he retreated to the judge's chambers as Action News tried to question him.
All that he said before slamming the door was: "I can't talk. The case is pending."
As one door slammed shut, another door opened for Brown. McDonnell voluntarily removed herself from the case as Brown's attorney tried to get a new trial. Judge Lillian Greene took over and would have given Brown a new trial, but prosecutors cut a deal.
Brown was placed on probation, but he still has a felony conviction for abduction, which he blames on Kilbane.
"I think I could have been found not guilty (if it weren't for the bailiff's actions)," Brown said.
The alleged victim's family is also upset with Kilbane.
"I think the reason he's on the streets now is because of the bailiff," a relative of the alleged victim said. "What he did was wrong."
Two other jurors admitted that a verdict was reached within minutes of their conversation with Kilbane.
The county prosecutor said that Kilbane misspoke to the jury, but didn't do anything criminal. It's not known if anything happened to Kilbane.