Man gets 27 years for sex offense against child

Published 9:59 am Friday, March 25, 2016

A Mocksville man will spend a minimum of 27 years behind bars, accused of sex offenses involving a child in 2006.

David Lee Kluttz, 36, of Markland Avenue, was charged with first degree sex offense with a child and two counts of taking indecent liberties with the child of his girlfriend at the home they shared in Mocksville.

According to testimony from his trial in Superior Court earlier this month, Kluttz abused the child about five times when the child was 9. Some of the abuse occurred when the mother and the victim’s brother and half-sister were in the home.

Kluttz is the father of the victim’s half-sister.

The victim, now 17, testified that Kluttz promised her ice cream and told her not to tell their secret, because she would get in trouble with her mother if she did. She waited until she was about 16 to tell what had happened, after her mother saw that she’d shared her secret with a friend on her Facebook account, which she accessed using her mother’s cell phone.

The victim initially denied to her mother anything had happened, but then finally told the truth, and her mother took her to the police department, where they met with Mocksville Police Lt. Det. Pat Reagan on Aug. 19, 2014.

The victim cried on the stand as she told the jury about the abuse, about Kluttz physically abusing her, forcing her to watch pornography and telling her to keep their secret. She said Kluttz moved out of the home when she was about 10 or 11 but stayed in the family’s life because he was the father of her half-sister. She said the family was afraid of him and that she had to receive counseling to help her deal with what had happened.

Reagan, supervisor of the criminal investigation division of the Mocksville Police Department, said after his meeting with the family, he set up an interview for the victim and her mother at The Dragonfly House. Reagan also called Kluttz and asked him to come in voluntarily for an interview.

Reagan said Kluttz came in with a friend, Sunday, Sept. 28. Kluttz was told he was free to go at any time, Reagan said, and the doors to the police department and conference room were left unlocked. Reagan said Kluttz denied anything had occurred and seemed confused as to why he was there, perhaps thinking it had something to do with another case the police department had investigated.

“He didn’t disclose any details since his friend was with him. I thought maybe he wasn’t able to answer the questions fully since his friend was in the room,” Reagan said.

Kluttz did say, in response to a question from Reagan, that the only pornography that had ever been in the house was a VHS tape he took home, and his girlfriend became so upset that she broke it and threw it away. He said he and the victim’s mother did not have a custody agreement involving the daughter they shared, but that he saw the child about every two months.

The victim’s mother testified, using an interpreter, that she wanted a court-ordered custody agreement but that Kluttz would not agree and wanted to be able to see the child wherever and whenever he wanted.

Reagan had another interview with Kluttz at the police department Nov. 30, another Sunday. Reagan said Sunday was the only day Kluttz was available because of his work schedule. The doors were again left unlocked and Kluttz, who arrived alone, was told he was free to leave at any time. Reagan shared with Kluttz the allegations against him.

“He became upset and said it stemmed from a custody battle over his daughter and that the allegations were false. He said he was never alone in the house with any of the children,” Reagan said.

Another interview was scheduled, this time for Dec. 31, at the Davie County Sheriff’s Department. Kluttz did not know how to get there, so he and Reagan met at the Mocksville Police Department and rode together in Reagan’s unmarked Chevrolet Tahoe.

During the interview, Kluttz admitted there had been some sexual contact made with the child, but that he “brushed her away” and told her not to tell her mother because her mother was known to be abusive.

Reagan stood in the doorway to a conference room while Kluttz wrote a statement. He told Reagan he was working three jobs, was under a great deal of stress and had anxiety due to the “mistreatment” of him by the victim’s mother.

After Kluttz finished the statement, Reagan took him back to his car. He said Kluttz asked him several times what charges would be levied against him, and he informed Kluttz it was premature to discuss that, since the investigation was ongoing.

Video of the victim’s tearful interview at The Dragonfly House was played for the jury of five men and seven women.

During one of the days of testimony, Kluttz’s attorney, Julie Parker, said the victim’s mother was overheard by Kluttz during the break telling the victim she needed to cry more on the stand. Out of the presence of the jury, the victim testified she never said that, that maybe Kluttz “misheard because his Spanish is not good.”

On day three of the trial, Kluttz was prepared to testify, but after a brief conversation with Parker in another room, he changed his mind.

During his 45-minute closing statement, Rob Taylor, assistant district attorney, told the jury, “This case is about consistency, credibility, and a child.”

He reminded the jury it was about a 9-year-old child, not the person who was testifying as a 17-year-old, but the child she was. What happened to her, he said, “Is one of the most horrible things a person can undergo. This trusted individual in her own home…had this child come into a secret relationship with him…There is no violation more severe than this type of crime…Why would a 17-year-old make up this story? There’s not one scintilla of evidence she has anything to gain from this. He’s out of her life; there’s nothing to be gained.”

Parker told the jury during her closing argument that a custody battle was the motivation behind the allegations.

“When Detective Reagan talked to Mr. Kluttz, his first comment was this was ‘custody related’. This is about custody and making sure Mr. Kluttz doesn’t get custody and keep (the mother) from seeing (the daughter). She said for three days her mom pestered her about what she’d seen on Facebook. Are we supposed to believe this one time she didn’t log out and there was her Facebook message ‘I’ve been sexually abused?’ Did she forget that was what she was texting when she gave the phone back to her mom? That makes absolutely no sense… This is a story invented to keep Mr. Kluttz from getting custody of the child.”

She told the jury to keep in mind the alleged victim said she was abused five times and could only remember the first and last times, not anything in between.

“Yet, she can remember a shirt (she was wearing in a picture) that said Cheer is one her Mom bought her, but she can’t remember what she was wearing during the alleged offenses. Does that make sense? The only thing that makes sense is this is a contrived story because of a battle over custody.”

Kluttz, wearing a tee shirt with a skull on the back, repeatedly rubbed a medallion hanging from a chain around his neck during testimony. While the jury was out deliberating, he sat alone waiting, but he didn’t sit long because it only took about 30 minutes to return the three guilty verdicts.

Before sentencing, Kluttz asked Judge Kevin Bridges if he could delay sentencing to give Kluttz time to visit with his wife and 2-year-old daughter.

Bridges said, “No,” and sentenced Kluttz to 288 to 355 months in prison for first degree sex offense with a child. He must enroll in sex offender treatment, have no contact with the victim, and pay court costs and a fee of $2,020 for his court-appointed attorney.

On each of the indecent liberties charges, he was sentenced to 19 to 23 months. Each sentence will be served at the expiration of the previous one.

The victim hugged each member of the jury as they filed out of the courtroom.