Hearing scheduled in Slaubaugh case; trial set to start May 22

A special pre-trial hearing has been scheduled in the case of a 64-year-old man accused of having sexual intercourse with a 6-year-old child after questions were raised about the validity of the child’s testimony in Randolph County Circuit Court Friday.

Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong scheduled the hearing for 10:30 a.m. April 30 in the case of Edward C. Slaubaugh, of Montrose. Slaubaugh’s attorney, James Hawkins, told Wilfong that officials with the Child Advocacy Center had come forward with concerns about the child’s testimony being potentially tainted.

Hawkins said there was a question about whether the girlfriend of the child’s father had been “coaching” the child about what to say in court.

“I think we’re obligated to explore what the father’s girlfriend has been saying to this child,” Hawkins said.

At a previous evidentiary hearing, Wilfong denied a joint motion made by special Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora and the child’s guardian ad litem, Heather Weese, to allow the child to testify via closed circuit television.

At the time, Wilfong said the child would testify in the courtroom, but she would do everything in her power to prevent the child from having any contact with Slaubaugh.

In November 2012, Slaubaugh was indicted on one felony count of first-degree sexual assault, one felony count of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian and one felony count of first-degree sexual abuse.

According to the indictment, Slaubaugh allegedly had sexual intercourse with the victim and forced the victim to engage in a lewd sexual act on Sept. 17, 2011.

The child was 5 years old at the time the alleged incidents occurred.

Slaubaugh’s case is set to go to trial May 22 and May 24.

Also in Circuit Court this week:

  • On Thursday, Tonya Warner, 29, of Belington, pleaded guilty to one felony count of an information charging her with gross neglect of a child creating a substantial risk of serious bodily injury and one misdemeanor count of an information charging her with obstructing an officer. Warner was involved in an Aug. 28, 2012 incident involving the investigation of an alleged mobile methamphetamine lab near Bob’s Hotdogs in Norton.

Police testified that Warner tried to escape from them three times – once on foot and twice in a vehicle – after they discovered the alleged mobile meth lab in a white van.

Following the Aug. 28 incident, Warner and her boyfriend, Gary Loy, 39, also of Belington, were charged with child neglect, among other felonies after police discovered their 3- and 4-year-old children in the van.