LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) - A man who fled his own trial has been convicted in absentia of molesting two young girls 15 years ago.
Paul Turley, 47, of Dunkirk was in court for jury selection last week, but when prosecutors sought to revoke his bail, Turley fled during a lunch break. He has not been seen since, nor has his wife.
The trial continued without Turley present and the judge moved for his $50,000 bail to be surrendered to the court. On Monday, a jury found Turley guilty of molesting the girls in 1996 and 1998 in North Tonawanda after three hours of deliberations.
David, a relative of one of the victims, said, "I wish he was here to be able to face the allegations and what was said. Hopefully, when it's sentencing time, he'll be here to do that."
Turley fled the court last Wednesday.
His attorney said, "We lost contact with him last Wednesday afternoon. It's always a benefit to have your client with you to assist in your defense."
Turley was convicted of sexual abuse and course of sexual conduct against a child. The victims in the case are now 21-years-old.
Asst. District Attorney Cheryl Nichols said, "Hopefully when sentencing day arrives, the defendant will be located and that will give the girls an opportunity to share in front of him the pain that he caused."
When Turley is located, he will be held without bail.
"He can run from a lot of things, but he can't run from what he did, he can't run from the verdict, and he can never run from the person that he is," said Asst. District Attorney Elizabeth Donatello.
When a defendant goes on the run, they give up their bail money as well as some of their rights, one of which being present during their trial. However, to prevent the jury from becoming tainted, jurors are never told why the defendant isn't present in the courtroom.
Juror Brandi Simmang noted Turley wasn't present, but didn't know why.
"We just figured, 'Okay, we're going to leave that alone and move on,'" she said.
But now that she knows Turley took off, Simmang said, "I'm glad we voted how we did."
When he is caught and sentenced, Turley will face 39 years in jail.
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