MOBILE, Alabama – The uncle of missing Mobile teenager Brittney Wood forced a different relative to have sex four years ago while the victim’s father watched, a police detective testified today.
Sgt. Scott Congleton of the Mobile Police Department, testified at a preliminary hearing in Mobile County District Court that the sexual abuse occurred in 2008 when the girl was 13 years old. Congelton testified that the victim, now 17, did not come forward until the death of her father this summer and a subsequent high-profile search for Wood.
“She was very credible,” Congleton testified.
Mobile County District Judge George Hardesty determined that prosecutors had enough evidence to send first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy charges against Dustin Alton Kent to a grand jury. He allowed Kent 36, to remain free on bail but ordered that he have no contact with the victim or children younger than 16 except for immediate relatives.
Kent also faces sodomy and sexual abuse charges in Baldwin County. Authorities there allege that he molested multiple victims, including the niece from the Mobile County case. Another uncle, Randall Wood, also faces charges in both jurisdictions.
Police have downplayed any connection between the disappearance of Wood and criminal charges that since have been filed against six relatives or family friends. Assistant District Attorney Nicki Patterson said today that the matter remains under investigation.
Kent’s lawyer, John Beck, said the charges against his client and Wood’s disappearance are unrelated.
“I know there’s been a lot of speculation. My client had absolutely no involvement in that case at all,” he said after the hearing.
Congleton recounted the victim’s harrowing account of the 2008 incident. She told investigators that it occurred in September or October of that year, the detective said.
He testified that the girl’s father, Donnie Holland, picked up his daughter and told her they would go to a pet store to buy a hamster. Instead, Congleton said, Holland drove to Kent’s workplace. The three of them then went to Shipyard Road near Rangeline Road off Interstate 10.
They went to an industrial park that never was developed and, Congleton testified, Holland turned onto a dark trail at dusk. During the ride, he testified, the girl had a headache, and Kent was rubbing her head. He started to kiss the girl, but she pulled away, the detective testified.
After the Chevrolet Tahoe came to a stop, Kent took the girl’s clothes off, performed oral sex on her and then raped her, Congleton testified. He said that Holland watched the entire time.
“She kept telling him to stop. He did not,” he testified.During cross-examination, Congleton testified that the victim confided in the defendant’s sister but no one else. Beck asked about other accusations that the girl made against other family members, but
Hardesty ruled that such questions were improper under Alabama’s rape shield law.
In an interview, Beck declined to discuss his line of questioning. “I’m just trying to gather information now,” he said.
Wood, the mother of a 2-year-old girl, disappeared May 30 after saying that she planned to visit her uncle, Donnie Holland, in Baldwin County.
Holland fatally shot himself in the head June 1 in the Styx River area in Baldwin County, authorities said.
At the time of Holland’s death, Congleton testified, he was under investigation for molestation but had not been charged.