The jury trail for a former Franklin County employee charged with sexual abuse of a child began Monday morning with the jury selection.
Eric Scrutchfield, 28, Ottawa, faces three felony counts on suspicion of sexual abuse of a child, stemming from an incident that is alleged to have occurred in spring 2011. He faces one count each of rape, aggravated criminal sodomy and lewd and lascivious behavior. Scrutchfield has been free on bond awaiting trial.
Yvonne Scrutchfield Day Care Home, 607 N. Cedar St., a business run by Scrutchfield’s wife, was closed in May 2011 by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment because of the allegations.
The Douglas County District Attorney’s Office filed the charges against Scrutchfield and is handling the case because of Scrutchfield’s previous employment with Franklin County, where he worked as a computer support specialist before his arrest.
Prosecutors have said that because the alleged victim is younger than 14, Jessica’s Law applies to all three counts. If convicted, Scrutchfield would face life in prison with a minimum of 25 years time served on each count,
Jim McCabria, assistant Douglas County attorney, is the lead prosecutor on the case. Ottawa defense attorney John A. Boyd is representing the defendant.
Jury selection continued into Monday afternoon, and District Judge Eric W. Godderz told prospective jurors the trial would be suspended Tuesday because of an impending winter storm that could produce blizzard conditions. Franklin County Courthouse officials had announced Monday morning that the courthouse would be closed Tuesday.
The trial was expected to resume Wednesday, weather permitting, in the Franklin County District Court Building, 301 S. Main St., Ottawa.