DA faces disqualified from sex assault case

The lawyer for a former Craig resident charged with sexually assaulting his daughter filed a motion Tuesday to have the local District Attorney's office disqualified from the case.

Attorney Norm Townsend moved to disqualify the entire 14th Judicial District Attorneys Office in county court because the alleged victim had "a personal relationship with (a lawyer in the District Attorney's Office) for several years, including but not limited to mentoring the child and participation in some sort of group activities," court documents state.

The former resident was arrested on March 25 on a charge of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, a class 3 felony, for allegedly molesting one of his children.

The suspect is in the Moffat County Public Safety Center jail on a $50,000 bond.

According to Townsend, the entire office of the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office is tainted by the relationship between the alleged victim and the attorney in question, and should not be allowed to prosecute the case to insure a fair and unbiased process for the defendant.

If the motion is approved, a special prosecutor would be brought in to handle the case, Townsend said.

The case would still be

handled in Moffat County court.

If denied, the case would continue on to a preliminary hearing with the local District Attorney's office handling the prosecution.

Chief Deputy District Attorney David Waite told the court the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office would oppose the motion. Moffat County Court Judge Mary Lynne James set a motions hearing concerning the disqualification request for May 8.

The suspect's children, all minors, have been in the custody of Social Services since January 2001, but the police did not receive a report the alleged sexual assault until the last week of February, according to the Craig Police Department.

The suspect was arrested when he arrived at the courthouse on March 25 for two hearings regarding pending cases that allege the suspect physically abused his children.

It is the policy of the Craig Daily Press not to identify suspects in cases of sexual assault until the defendant is found guilty of the charges.

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