Judge Delays Ruling on Trial of Ex-Coach
Another Court Date Is Set to Hear Defense Attorneys' Arguments about Moving the Trial out of Schuylkill County or Selecting a Jury from Another County
By Mike Urban
December 15, 2006
Pottsville A Schuylkill County judge on Thursday delayed deciding whether to move the trial of a former teacher and coach accused of molesting an athlete and videotaping students undressing in a Pottsville high school.
Daniel M. Shields Jr., 62, a former Nativity BVM High School physical education teacher and track and football coach, is charged with molesting a female member of his track team several times in 2004 and 2005.
Shields of Pottsville also is charged with videotaping that woman and two other females in a school locker room several times from November 2004 to May 2005.
Shields is represented by Reading lawyers Emmanuel H. Dimitriou and Kurt B. Geishauser, who asked Judge John E. Domalakes to either move the trial outside of Schuylkill or bring in a jury from outside the county.
The attorneys claim media reports of the case make it impossible for Shields to receive a fair trail in Schuylkill.
The attorneys also requested that the molestation and videotaping charges be split into two trials.
First Assistant District Attorney Karen Noon opposed both requests, pointing out that the defense attorneys filed the requests months after the deadline.
Domalakes will hold another hearing this month for further arguments.
He also said he thought it would be appropriate to include all the charges in one trial because they involved the same victims and the same defendant, and took place in the same location in the same general time period.
In addition, Domalakes said he thought an impartial jury could be found in Schuylkill.
He pointed out that Dimitriou did not present specific media reports that were inflammatory or prejudicial, and said he thought the county should at least try to find an impartial jury.
"We're not going to just toss all of Schuylkill County out just because there has been some publicity about the case," the judge said. "There was nothing in those articles that won't be in the opening arguments."
Shields is charged with aggravated indecent assault, sexual abuse of children and related offenses.
His trial is tentatively scheduled for March.
Officials with the Diocese of Allentown said Shields no longer is employed at the school.
Contact reporter Mike Urban at 610-371-5023 or email@example.com.
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