trial begins for man charged with child molesting
There are two sides to every story and so far jurors have heard
a little of both sides concerning charges against Robert Baston,
41, of Milan.
Baston has been charged with a Class A Felony, Child Molesting,
which means he is alleged to have had sexual intercourse or deviate
sexual conduct with a child under the age of 14.
In opening statements on Tuesday, Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel
gave the States position for filing the charges and said the
evidence in the next few days would bear out the reasons for the
He told jurors that Baston had violated a little girl about six
years old at a cookout-pool party last August. Hertel told how Baston
had taken the child on a ride on a 4-wheeler to a secluded cornfield
in the Milan area, where she was allegedly molested.
Hertel told the jurors in the next few days they would hear from
many witnesses telling about their part in the case. Some were social
workers, medical personnel including three doctors, lab technicians
and police and the victim herself.
Baston is being represented by three defense attorneys, Tim Day,
Jay Hoffman and Brian Newcomb.
In the opening statement, defense attorney Hoffman noted that jurors
would hear different theories of what happened, and have to decide
for themselves. He said his client allowed Detective Tracy Rohlfing
in his home and gave him access to the quad. He said he had nothing
Defense also alluded that there could be possible contamination
with the DNA process. He said the quad seat was never swabbed nor
were the swimming trunks the defendant was wearing ever tested.
The first day was nearly taken up with jury selection and opening
statements lasted until almost 5:30 p.m. in Ripley County Circuit
Court with Judge Carl Taul presiding.
On Wednesday, June 2, the trial resumed with the victim taking the
witness stand. She described her ride to what she referred to as
the forest and said when the defendant was sexually
molesting her she said to him, No, dont do that - no,
dont do that. She said it made her feel miserable and
went back and told her dad and aunt Sherri what had happened.
Another witness took the stand Wednesday morning for the State,
Cecilia Freihofer, who is a forensic interviewer with the Mayerson
Clinic, a part of Childrens Hospital in Cincinnati. She had
interviewed the victim the day after the incident allegedly took
The trial will continue this week and jurors will then have the
final instruction after all the witnesses are heard, and evidence
presented. They will make the final determination as to the outcome
of the trial.
(Editors note) Continued coverage of the trial will be reported
in next weeks papers.