New charges lead to dismissal, refiling of child molest case
A multi-victim molestation case that was set to go to trial in late July — and then was continued after new information came to light — has been dismissed and refiled with more charges and more victims.
Robert Lewis Taylor was facing one count of continuous sexual abuse, four counts of lewd acts on a child, one count of sexual battery by restraint and four counts of child molestation involving three girls, one of whom said she was 11 at the time.
The day that Taylor’s trial was set to start, a motion was filed by defense attorney Stephen Munkelt, because he received a DVD from the district attorney’s office containing an interview with one of the alleged victims.
The jury was dismissed and a new trial date was to be discussed Monday in Nevada County Superior Court.
Instead, Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Ow filed a motion to dismiss that case, and filed a new case with new charges involving that victim and three other victims; she subsequently amended that complaint to add the charges from the earlier complaint.
The newest complaint lists 19 counts involving six alleged victims — of continual sexual abuse, lewd acts, dissuading a witness, sexual battery by restraint, sexual penetration by a foreign object and child molestation.
Several of the counts include a special allegation of substantial sexual conduct, as well as a special allegation that the offense is punishable by life imprisonment.
Judge Candace Heidelberger agreed to allow the dismissal and new filing over the objections of Munkelt, who said that Ow was disrupting the process and causing the case to start over from square one and deprive his client of the right to a speedy trial.
Ow, however, said it would not be in the interest of justice to have two separate trials.
“There was last-minute evidence,” District Attorney Cliff Newell said. “We want to be sure the new victims are represented in the complaint.”
Munkelt said he was not prepared to enter a plea on behalf of his client, adding that he wanted to research the statute of limitations on the new charges.
Taylor will return to court Aug. 27.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.
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