BishopAccountability.org

Testimony to Begin in Pastor's Sex Abuse Trial

Star Press
January 10, 2012

http://www.thestarpress.com/article/20120110/BUSTED/101100351

Matthew Kidd / The Star Press file photo

MUNCIE -- Nearly three years after charges were filed, testimony should begin today in the trial of a Muncie pastor accused of sexually abusing three teenager members of his congregation.

The trial of Matthew A. Kidd, now 55, pastor of Freedom Point Apostolic Church, began Monday with a full day of jury-selection proceedings in Delaware Circuit Court 3.

Kidd was charged in January 2009 with child molesting and sexual misconduct with a minor, both Class C felonies carrying a standard four-year prison term, and vicarious sexual gratification, a Class D felony with a standard 18-month sentence.

He is accused of fondling the teens, who are brothers, having them disrobe before he gave them massages and performing what were purported to be exams for ailments such as hernias.

The minister has denied the allegations, which are also the basis of a lawsuit filed by the alleged victims and their family against Kidd and his church.

Opening arguments in the case are set for 9 a.m. today.

During jury selection on Monday, defense attorney Steven Bruce said he was concerned members of the panel "perhaps (might) let the state explain away a lack of evidence."

He also asked whether would-be jurors would be willing to consider "inconsistent narratives" offered by witnesses.

"You've got to have the evidence if you want to prove somebody guilty," a member of the jury pool told Bruce.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Judi Calhoun got prospective jurors to acknowledge that the types of crimes charged in the case would not likely be committed in front of a number of witnesses.

Calhoun asked one panel member whether such allegations involving juveniles warranted criminal charges.

That man said they did, adding, "Children are immature. They can easily be manipulated."

Bruce asked a prospective juror why someone would fabricate such allegations.

"I guess if you don't like a person enough, you might want to see them embarrassed, or see them incarcerated," the man responded.

Eight of the needed 12 jurors had been seated by 5 p.m. The final four jurors and two alternates had been selected by shortly after 6 p.m.

One member of the jury pool was apparently concerned about courtroom developments outside of Delaware County.

As Monday's proceedings stretched into the late afternoon, the frustrated pool member-- who hadn't reached the stage of being questioned by attorneys -- told others in the courtroom that he was "going to miss Judge Judy."




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