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Locals, family react to dismissal of sexual abuse charges
January 11, 2019

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LAKE PLACID - Public reaction was strong and mixed after child sexual abuse charges were dismissed against a Lake Placid man.

Many people took to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise website and Facebook post to comment on the situation. Among those were family members of the accused, defending him.

In January 2018, state police charged Christopher Anderson, now 35, with three counts of a course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree and one count of sexual abuse in the first degree, both felonies. The charges alleged that he abused a child less than 11 years of age in the town of North Elba from 2014 to 2017.

However, all the charges were dismissed without prejudice Friday, Jan. 4. Essex County Assistant District Attorney Michele Bowen said the case did not go to trial because it was putting an emotional strain on the child, but that the case could go to trial in the future if a grand jury permits it.

"Dismissal in no way suggests the defendant's innocence," Bowen said. "It simply means at this time the child is not capable of testifying. The mental, emotional and physical health of child victims is our primary focus. In this case, a trial at this time is not in the best interest of the child."

Andersen's sister Nikki Andersen commented Monday in a direct Facebook message to the Enterprise.

"Chris Andersen is my big brother and one of my best friends," she wrote. "He is innocent and people who personally know him know he's innocent too. It is absurd for people to judge him without knowing him or anything about the case, other than what the press has released. Whatever happened to being innocent until proven guilty? Regardless of whether or not you judge him, the charges were dismissed and a victory is still a victory. It's possible for the ADA to file charges again but that most likely won't happen. After spending over a year investigating, there is literally zero evidence to present other than the child's testimony. The ADA is only claiming emotional distress of the child to save face. She would have likely lost had the case gone to trial. It's tough seeing someone you love get put through the wringer when you know the facts of the case that exonerate them."

In an email Tuesday, Jan. 8, Bowen said she couldn't comment further on the investigation but said, "it would seem to me Andersen's sister is not in a position to know the People's case."

The reaction to the dismissal of charges was mixed on Facebook and the Enterprise website, with some defending the child and others defending Christopher Andersen.

Lake Placid resident Elena Dashler wrote, "You have got to be KIDDING #deathpenaltytochildabuser."

BettyLee Parker of Latham wrote, "If there was a case it would not (have) been dismissed."

The county public defender's officer represented Christopher Anderson but could not be reached for comment.

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