Man bound over for trial on child sex charges
December 8, 2017
Justice of the Peace John Tatro on Friday ruled there was sufficient evidence to bind Joshua Counsil over to district court on charges of child sexual assault.
Counsil faces three counts of sexually assaulting a child under age 14 and two of lewdness with a child under 14.
The victims, according to prosecutor Melanie Brantingham, are sisters, the youngest of whom was 6 or 7 when the abuse began.
Defense counsel William Murphy moved to dismiss three of the five charges arguing that the complaint doesn't give him any reasonable timeframe for when the alleged assaults happened. He said they cover anywhere from a year to two years which gives him no "credible time frame."
"How am I expected to effectively cross examine when they come up with a two-year range from 2015 to 2017?" he asked Tatro.
He also argued that allowing hearsay testimony by the child advocate who interviewed the girls was unconstitutional.
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Brantingham responded that Murphy's motion wasn't timely, that state statute allows the testimony in cases involving very young victims and that those motions should have been made in writing, not as the preliminary hearing was beginning Friday.
Tatro agreed and rejected the motions.
The primary testimony came from the mother of the two girls, the deputy who initially interviewed them and Forensic Interviewer Alexis Auckenthaler of the Washoe Child Advocacy Center.
Auckenthaler said the younger of the two told her Counsil tried to get her to perform oral sex on him and later forced her to have intercourse on Christmas Day at their grandmother's house. She said the girl told her she was forced to have sex numerous times by Counsil.
Their mother testified that when she raised the issue with the older girl, her response was to say, "he went after her too?"
But Auckenthaler, under cross examination, testified that the older girl never did detail what sexual acts were involved in her case, saying only that Counsil had done something bad to her.
She said after that, they went to the sheriff's office to report him.
Tatro's ruling sends the case to district court for trial. His arraignment will take place on Dec. 19.