Trial began Wednesday for a Forsyth County man accused of statutory rape and child molestation.
Todd Algren was 43 when he was accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student at his All About Diving business in 2008. In a separate incident in 2009, he was accused by his girlfriend’s daughter of inappropriate touching.
In her opening argument, prosecuting attorney Ramsey Magaro said these were “two separate cases, two separate families, two sets of facts that have nothing to do with each other.”
“This defendant is guilty of statutory rape and two counts of child molestation,” she said.
But Algren’s attorney, Jim Hardy, told jurors the state’s lack of evidence “will have you calling him not guilty.”
After opening arguments, the jury heard from the first alleged victim, now a 19-year-old college student. The girl and her brother had been taking scuba lessons with Algren in June 2008. After training in the pool one morning, the three came back to the scuba business for lunch.
“My brother went to get food, and me and the defendant had sex,” the girl said. “We went into the back room.”
The girl indicated she didn’t want anyone to know about the incident because “it’s not something I wanted to talk about.”
But she said her uncle, with whom she lived, overheard a phone conversation in which she and Algren “talked about having sex and just more flirtatious conversation.”
During opening arguments, Hardy said there was no inappropriate activity. He said while the girl’s brother was getting lunch, Algren was unloading scuba gear into his shop.
He also tried to point out inconsistencies from her previous interviews saying she is “confused about the [day] she was allegedly raped.”
In his opening argument, Hardy described the second alleged victim as “full of personality,” but “always trying to get attention.” He said she had a good relationship with Algren, who was living with her and her mom and older brother.
“He’d have to brace himself as she’d pounce on his chest like a golden retriever,” he said about her affection. “He loved [her] like his own.”
It was in school, following a lesson on inappropriate touching, that the second victim reported her experience to a guidance counselor, saying her mom’s boyfriend touched her in two inappropriate place, said Magaro. She said the incident occurred the summer before the girl reported it, noting Algren is still in a relationship with the girl’s mother.
The trial will continue through the week, and could go into next week.