A Pottawatomie County judge has denied a change of venue for the trial of a former McLoud teacher charged in a pornography case, but did rule that she and a co-defendant will not have one combined trial.
The cases of Kimberly Ann Crain, 49, Shawnee, and Gary J. Doby, 66, of Bloomsburg, Pa., are set for trial during the two-week jury term that begins Jan. 14.
Crain taught third grade at McLoud Elementary School until she resigned amid an ongoing investigation on Nov. 28, 2011. Prosecutors allege Crain, while working as a teacher, took photos of as many as 14 young girls while they were changing clothes, some in her classroom and others at her home. She then is accused of sharing those images with Doby.
Both defendants face 18 counts of sexual exploitation of a child under age 12, one count of conspiracy to commit sexual exploitation and one count of lewd molestation. Crain also faces 11 counts of possession of juvenile pornography.
Although there would have been two separate juries involved, District Attorney Richard Smothermon wanted Crain and Doby to face trial together so the young student witnesses would only have to testify once.
Crain's attorney, Cregg Webb, filed a motion to sever the trial. While the law would have allowed both defendants to be tried at once with separate juries, the judge granted Crain's motion because of logistics in the Pottawatomie County courthouse.
"The empanelling of dual juries as suggested by the State is legally supported by law but logistically is unrealistic given the number of trials scheduled and the number of jury rooms available," the ruling reads.
Although there will have to be two trials, Smothermon said he hopes to hold them back-to-back during the January docket so the students won't have to testify at one trial next month and then again at a future trial.
"I don't want them to relive it twice," Smothermon said about the elementary-age witnesses. "My intent, if the court will allow it, is to try both of them in January."
Among many motions in the case, one included Crain's motion for a change of venue. That request claimed that a fair and impartial jury couldn't be had because of media coverage on the case in newspapers, on TV and on the Internet.
The ruling shows the motions and exhibits were studied in the case. And while the court ruled there was extensive media scrutiny in the past, it "has reduced significantly" in the last six months.
"It is not required that a potential juror be ignorant of the issues involved," the ruling reads. "It is sufficient if the prospective juror can set aside their opinions and base their verdict based on the evidence presented in court."
Page 2 of 2 - Both Crain and Doby have previously pleaded not guilty and remain jailed while awaiting trial.
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