(2:30 PM) Mistrial Declared For Man Accused Of Sexual Assault

Dennis L. Park pictured in Chautauqua County Court in Mayville. P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

MAYVILLE — A mistrial has been declared in the sexual assault case of Conewango resident Dennis L. Park.

Chautauqua County Court Judge David Foley made the ruling following an extended recess and lunch period this afternoon.

Park, 34, is facing charges of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree criminal sex act for incidents that took place July 11 and July 17 in 2018.

The ruling came after Michael Flaherty of the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s office called a DNA forensic analyst from the New York State Police barracks.

The analyst, in her testimony, mentioned the findings of another analyst, a serologist. Discussing the rape kit from the July 17, 2018, alleged victim, the analyst noted in court that the serologist had found sperm from an oral DNA swab.

Later, Foley said that because the analyst’s testimony referenced another person’s findings, he ruled it as hearsay.

Following the comments from the witness, Flaherty continued his questioning before Park’s attorney, Public Defender Ned Barone asked for sidebar with the judge. The jury was sent back to their chambers and the witness was asked to the leave the courtroom.

Because the serologist was not in the courtroom, and the testimony came from another person, Barone was not allowed to perform a cross examination on the potential witness.

Foley asked for a recess, after which he returned and said he had no choice but to grant the mistrial.

This story will be updated.