The trial of a former Elkins Middle School teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a student begins today in Randolph County Circuit Court after multiple delays that occurred over more than three years.
A spokeswoman from Randolph County Circuit Judge Jaymie Goodwin Wilfong's office said the trial of Autumn Rae Faulkner, 29, of Beverly is slated to begin at 9 a.m. after a successful jury selection was conducted Tuesday afternoon.
Faulkner is charged with three felony counts of third-degree sexual assault and three felony counts of sexual abuse by a custodian or person of trust to a child.
Faulkner was arrested in March 2009 when she was 26 for allegedly having sexual relations with her then-15-year-old former student in December 2008 and February 2009. She was a seventh-grade social studies teacher at the time the arrest was made.
The case has been riddled with snafus, the latest of which happened in early June when the trial was delayed due to difficulty selecting a jury, according to a previous report. At the time, Special Prosecutor Steve Jory said a sufficient number of suitable jurors was not available to hear the case when jury selection took place June 5.
In addition to issues with jury selection, indictments against Faulkner were dismissed twice - first, when Wilfong ruled the grand jury panel was tainted because a juror had prior knowledge of the case and then due to errors made by the prosecution under former Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Richard Busch.
According to previous reports, Wilfong found Busch in contempt of court following an incident in which he falsely accused a state trooper of losing a disk containing an interview with the teenage victim.
Busch resigned Dec. 5, 2011, and is awaiting the findings of a hearing panel subcommittee of the state Lawyer Disciplinary Board following his alleged misconduct.
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.