A sex tape played during the trial of a Moorestown cop accused of sexually assaulting girls is expected to be key to the verdict.
Assistant Burlington County Prosecutor Kevin Morgan told a jury last week that Robert Melia Jr. filmed his girlfriend as she repeatedly molested a teen, in his Moorestown bedroom, as she lay on his distinctive cloud-dotted sheets. At one point in the tape, there was a glimpse of a man's arm and the sound of a man coughing. The girl, who was blindfolded and bound, was incapacitated, the prosecutor said, and did not respond to the attacks.
But Melia does not appear on the graphic 35-minute tape. Defense attorney Mark Catanzaro argued that his client was not there. And, he said that the 3 accusers lied about assaults that allegedly took place over an 8 year period beginning in 2000.
When Catanzaro asked Judge Charles Delehey to throw out the charges on Monday, Assistant Prosecutor Stephen Raymond Jr. argued that there was enough evidence to let a jury decide the facts. "A jury could certainly infer Mr. Melia was the one shooting video," he said. The girls had testified that he assaulted them in his room on numerous occasions.
The trial, in Superior Court in Mount Holly, is expected to conclude this week. A jury, which had to watch the sordid film, will have to decide on more than 40 charges lodged separately against Melia, and his former girlfriend, Heather Lewis. They could face life in prison if convicted.