Jury deliberates in ex-Bengal sex case

CINCINNATI - The jury will return to the courthouse Wednesday morning to try to reach a verdict in the sex trial of a former Cincinnati Bengal.

Nate Webster is accused of having a sexual relationship with the daughter of a Bengals coach when she was 15 years old. The alleged victim, who is now 18, says the encounters began when she agreed to babysit Webster's kids at his home in the summer of 2009.

The jury listened to more than two hours of closing arguments Tuesday morning, then spent the remainder of the day deliberating.

It's no dispute that Nate Webster had sex with the alleged victim, what the jury has to decide is if the sex happened when she was 15 or 16, the age of consent in Ohio.

Prosecutors showed phone records between the alleged victim and Webster and says their conversations prove they had a sexual relationship.

"This man, the defendant preyed upon the victim in June of 2009, when she was 15. Her dad was gone the entire fall," said assistant prosecutor Katie Burroughs. "She was having typical teenage mother-daughter issues. She was in a new school. She was having trouble transitioning, she didn't have friends, and the grooming began. She called all the time. This was someone who paid attention to her, who validated her and she fell in love with a 31-year-old man."

Defense attorneys for Webster say he never used his phone and constantly ignored her calls and texts. They also say she was seeking attention because she had an unstable lifestyle and lacked love from her parents.

"This is a fantasy story of someone who is infatuated with an older man and makes this up," said defense prosecutor Gregory Samms. "This cannot be true, just listen the story sounds crazy. No one in this world trust that girl, but they are asking you--the 12 of you--to do what no one else would do and trust her."

The jury will return Wednesday at 9 a.m. to resume deliberations.

Webster is charged with single counts of gross sexual imposition and sexual battery and five counts of unlawful sex with a minor with gun specifications.

Webster faces 36 years in prison if he is convicted on all counts.
 

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