Opening statements Tuesday in child sex abuse trial

Trish Mehaffey
Published: March 10 2014 | 4:14 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:24 am in

Testimony will start Tuesday in a sex abuse trial for a Cedar Rapids man accused of sexually abusing a child for two or three years.

A jury was seated Monday and opening statements start 9 a.m. in Linn County District Court.

James Olds, 45, is charged with second-degree sexual abuse, lascivious acts with a child, lascivious conduct with a minor, indecent contact with a child and indecent exposure and false imprisonment. He is accused of sexually abusing the girl between the time she was 3 and 5 years of age, according to a criminal complaint and search warrant.

The trial is expected to last all week. If convicted on all charges, he faces up to 45 years in prison.

The girl, who is now 9, told First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks in November that she didn't remember any of the details of the alleged sexual abuse that she related to a forensic interviewer in 2011. This case has been reset nine times and Maybanks previously said he believes the girl can't remember.

The judge previously ruled that the state can play the taped interview with a Child Protection Center forensic interviewer if the child is going to testify because the defense will have the opportunity to cross examine her.

Maybanks will have the girl take the stand and admit she has no memory of the incidents.

This may be the first case in Linn County that has been allowed to play an interview like this. The last time it came up was in the James Bentley trial. He was convicted of sexually abusing 10-year-old Jestseta Gage. According to a 2007 ruling, the CPC taped interview of Jetseta wasn't admissible because it violated his right to confront the witness.

Jetseta couldn't testify because she had been kidnapped and killed by Bentley's brother, Roger Bentley, in 2005 before the Benton County sexual abuse trial made it to court in 2008. James Bentley was convicted without the taped interview and is currently serving a 100-year sentence for child pornography involving Jestseta and a 1-year-old girl. Roger Bentley is also serving a life sentence for killing Jetseta.

In the Olds case, 6th Judicial District Judge Robert Sosalla said in his ruling he would allow the tapes because Olds can cross examine her during the trial and he had a prior opportunity to cross examine the girl at a deposition in February 2012. During the deposition, the girl recalled the incidents that led to the criminal charges filed in this case.

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