Beaufort News

Charges against Iacopelli dismissed in Port Royal Sunday school case

Editor's note: In December of 2015, Iacopelli sued the town of Port Royal. The lawsuit alleges that Iacopelli was slandered and maliciously prosecuted by the police department. The suit is pending. 

A judge has dismissed charges this morning against a Beaufort man accused of sexual conduct with a 4-year-old in a Sunday school class in June.

Beaufort County Magistrate Judge Richard Brooks opted not to send the case against Joel Iacopelli, 44, to General Sessions Court.

Iacopelli was charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 11 on July 10 after the child alleged he touched her inappropriately during a June 28 class at Community Bible Church in Port Royal.

Brooks presided over Iacopelli's preliminary hearing Aug. 14 and said he needed more time to go over evidence provided by the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office and Jared Newman, Iacopelli's attorney.

During the hearing, Chief Investigator Robert Bilyard of the Port Royal Police Department testified that Iacopelli repeatedly denied touching the child during an interview shortly before he was charged.

Bilyard also said the child's story changed several times and told her father she made up the allegation.

Follow Caitlin Turner on Twitter at twitter.com/Cait_E_Turner.

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