A 54-year-old Dawson County man arrested nearly a year ago on child molestation charges has been acquitted.
With friends and family by his side Aug. 10, Louis "Lou" Renevillia said he felt a weight lifted from his shoulders as a jury returned not guilty verdicts on each of the nine charges.
"I can finally get my life back together," he said.
Renevillia was arrested in August 2010 after the child's mother reported the alleged sexual incidents to the Dawson County Sheriff's Office.
The boy, who was 11 and in Renevillia's custody at the time of the reported sexual contact, also said he watched pornographic movies on a VHS/DVD player in Renevillia's bedroom.
Jurors heard testimony last week that the device in question did not work during the time Renevillia was accused of sexually molesting the young family member.
The jury took less than three hours to return the not guilty verdicts on charges ranging from enticing a child for indecent purposes and child molestation to aggravated child molestation and sodomy.
Renevillia, a truck driver, maintained his innocence from the start, claiming a family disagreement led to the child's report.
Taking the stand in his defense, Renevillia denied the charges, saying he still loves the child, whom he took into his home while the boy's mother was incarcerated.
Renevillia said he thought of suicide many times over the last 12 months, "but I kept telling myself God would get us through and he did."
He also sold nearly everything he owned aside from his truck to pay his legal fees, according to his attorney, Ridge Rairigh.
"He never once backed down ... neveronce shied away from a trial," Rairigh said. "When I came on the case, I asked him about any kind of plea offer. [He said] absolutely not. He was innocent of these charges. This didn't happen.
"All of our hearts go out to the child."