According to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Williamsport, the CEO of the Boals Mansion Museum is requesting to have separate trials for the charges he is facing. In the motion filed by his attorney, he asserts that the child pornography allegations do not have anything to do with the child sex allegations and should thus be tried separately.
Authorities claim that the man enticed a minor to travel across state lines for the purposes of having sex. The alleged sexual encounter reportedly took place at the museum. The man is also accused of receiving and viewing child pornography over the internet.
The defendant's lawyer says that trying the two charges together could unfairly prejudice the CEO, and it could potentially impact his decision to testify on his own behalf. He has concerns that a jury hearing both charges together may unfairly weigh the separate accusations in arriving at a finding of guilt or innocence. The court gave federal prosecutors 30 days to respond to the defense motion. Currently, the case is scheduled to begin jury trial on Feb. 2.
The man has been jailed since October 2014 pending resolution of his case. He is facing five years to life on the child pornography count and 10 years to life on the child sex count if convicted at trial.
When separate allegations are included in the same case and have nothing to do with one another, a court may grant a severance motion and allow the charges to proceed to separate trials. A lawyer could represent a defendant in both trials as well as prepare the appropriate documents in the cases.
Source: The Republic, "Pennsylvania museum CEO wants to have separate trials on child sex, pornography charges," Joe Mandak, Jan. 9, 2015