Northern Wyoming News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Tracie Mitchell
Staff Writer 

Child sex abuse trial underway for former Worland man

 

April 25, 2019



WORLAND – The trial of former Worland man, Jason Arnold Miller, started Monday, April 22.

Miller, who pleaded not guilty in November in Washakie County Fifth Judicial District Court, is facing four counts of first degree sexual abuse of a minor. The alleged abuse occurred from August of 2014 until September of 2016.

Miller could be facing up to 200 years in prison, as each count has a minimum of 25 years and a maximum of 50 years in prison.

Monday morning the jury of eight men and five women was selected.

Opening statements from both the prosecution and defense were heard at around 3:30 p.m. Monday afternoon.

Both the prosecution and the defense stated that the main reason that they were in court was due to the victim’s unstable family life. Washakie County Deputy Attorney Anthony Barton stated that due to the unstable family life of the victim, the victim was not protected as the victim should have been.

Washakie County Public Defender Richard Hopkinson stated that the victim was being coerced into stating false allegations by the people who were supposed to be protecting the victim.

The first witness, former Worland Police Officer John Core was called to the stand upon which the defense objected, stating that anything Core would say would be hearsay. District Court Judge Bobbie D. Overfield stated that the court would hear what Core had to say. Core came in with a video copy of his interview with the victim and again the defense objected stating that he had not seen the video and needed time to review the video before the proceeding began.

Overfield called a recess until Tuesday, April 23, for the defense to review the video.

Tuesday morning began with Officer Core taking the stand and being questioned by Barton as to when, where and why in regard to the investigation of the alleged crime/s, with numerous objections from Hopkinson. Core stated that he was advised by the county attorney’s office to investigate. He also stated that the victim went to Casper for three different CAP (Children’s Advocacy Project) interviews, which he attended.

According to the CAP website, “The Children’s Advocacy Project (CAP) is a team of committed agencies and individual professionals who work together to provide coordinated forensic and comprehensive services for alleged victims of child maltreatment and children who witness violence in order to minimize trauma to children, to break the cycle of abuse and to foster a more effective and efficient community response to child maltreatment.”

Hopkinson questioned Core on whether or not he had training in interviewing children. Core stated that he had not and then Hopkinson asked if Core felt that children needed to be interviewed differently than adults, upon which Core stated yes. Hopkinson went on to suggest through questioning that there was a chance that Core may have conducted the interview wrong with leading questions, which could create false memories. Core stated that he didn’t believe that he had asked any leading questions and that he honestly hoped that he hadn’t.

During a side bar in the judge’s chambers after an objection from Hopkinson, a juror asked to speak with the bailiff. After several trips to the hall with the bailiff and a couple trips into the judge’s chambers with both attorneys the juror was dismissed.

The trial is scheduled to last three to five days with the victim’s mother, the victim and an expert psychological witness testifying.

The Northern Wyoming News does not publish names of juvenile sexual assault victims.

 
 

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