HAZARD – The trial of a Leslie County man charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse will be pushed back to next March to give the incoming commonwealth’s attorney time to prepare.
Jerry Joseph, 55, of Cutshin, was indicted in October 2011 on 20 counts of first-degree sexual abuse for allegedly using force to sexually abuse another person several times from 2007 to January 2011.
Joseph’s trial was originally set for Monday, Dec. 10, but outgoing Commonwealth’s Attorney Teresa Reed said the impending retirement of her assistant, Charles Allen, would mean that she would be the only prosecutor at trial, and wouldn’t have the resources to adequately try the case.
“I don’t feel that, with the absence of Mr. Allen, the prosecution would be at the standard where it should be,” Reed noted in Perry Circuit Court on Thursday.
Reed added that in past trials she relied on Allen to make certain legal arguments and aid in the prosecution, and with him retiring this week, she wouldn’t have time before leaving office later this month to prepare to try the case herself.
Reed requested that the trial be continued until incoming Commonwealth’s Attorney John Hansen takes office, which he set to do in early January.
Defense attorney David Johnson did not object to the request, noting that he is prepared to go to trial on Dec. 10, but his client is currently out of jail on bond and has no issue with a later trial date.
Circuit Judge William Engle ultimately ruled to continue the trial date, but not before noting his obligations to the parties involved, as well as to the parties in other cases currently set for trial. Engle said he would delay Joseph’s trial, but “I do so with much reservation.”
Joseph is now set for trial on March 11, 2013, and will be back in court for a pretrial conference on Jan. 30.