The jury trial for a former Franklin County employee charged with sexual abuse of a child has been continued until January.

After meeting behind closed doors with the prosecutor and defense counsel at 9 a.m. today, Franklin County District Judge Eric Godderz granted the defense’s motion for a continuance and rescheduled the jury trial for Eric Scrutchfield, 28, Ottawa, for 9 a.m. Jan. 28, 2013, in Franklin County District Court, 301 S. Main St., Ottawa. The trial is scheduled to last five days.

The judge did not specify the reasons for the continuance. 

Scrutchfield was arrested in May 2011 on suspicion of sexual abuse of a child. He was charged with rape, aggravated criminal sodomy and felony lewd and lascivious behavior in connection with the case.

Special Prosecutor Amy McGowan, with the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office, is handling the case because of Scrutchfield’s previous employment with Franklin County, where he worked as a computer support specialist before his arrest. If convicted, Scrutchfield would face life in prison with a minimum of 25 years time served on each count, McGowan previously said.

Ottawa defense attorney John Boyd is representing Scrutchfield.