Steamboat Springs The process of selecting a jury is going into a second day for a Routt County trial in which a former teacher and pastor is accused of sexually assaulting a boy.
Routt County Chief Deputy District Attorney Matt Karzen said after the first day of jury selection that more than 100 people had been called for jury duty, and some had already been dismissed.
Jurors were given questionnaires, and attorneys were able to interview potential jurors individually behind closed doors. It was a preliminary selection process that is unusual with trials in Routt County.
Karzen said it helps protect the privacy of the potential jurors, and it helps avoid potentially tainting the rest of the jury pool.
“In cases like this, it’s typical,” Karzen said.
It was expected jury selection would continue through Wednesday, and Karzen thought it would be Thursday before opening statements were made.
Once individual interviews are finished, the more traditional jury selection process will start. Attorneys will take turns interviewing the potential jurors in groups.
While jury duty is a civic duty, many of the potential jurors complained about waiting around all day, and many had conflicts. One woman had purchased plane tickets to go celebrate her mother’s birthday. Another woman had already scheduled a non-refundable appointment for her dog with a Denver professional who specializes in cleaning teeth without using anesthesia. A local rancher was very concerned about returning for a second day of jury duty because he had a short window of time to fill his irrigation ditches with water.
The trial is for John Brothers Jr., who has been charged with 16 felonies and a sentence enhancer that would extend his sentence if he is found guilty.
Brothers, a former preacher in Yampa and teacher at Heritage Christian School just west of Steamboat, is suspected of sexually assaulting one boy eight times throughout a six-week period at a residence. The boy and his father reported the incident in March 2012. Brothers was arrested the next month. He has been out of custody since January, when he was released on a personal recognizance bond after a mistake was made by the District Attorney’s Office in not disclosing a report from an expert witness.
Brothers attended the first day of jury selection.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland