By Leeann Akers - Managing Editor
Nov. 8, 2012 — Jury selection began Thursday morning in the trial of Jeffery Wayne Roe, 53, of Olive Hill. A group of 11 women and two men, one of which will be an alternate juror, were chosen after six and a half hours of the selection process.
Roe was indicted in December 2011 for sexual crimes he allegedly committed against a minor less than 12 years of age. Roe faces charges of first degree sexual abuse, a Class C felony, and first degree sodomy, a Class A felony. If convicted on both charges, Roe would face 20 years to life in prison.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Gary Conn told the jurors that Roe is accused of committing crimes against a family member that was between eight and nine years old in 2006, when the crimes were allegedly committed.
“This case is one person’s word against another’s,” Conn said. “The only evidence in this case is the testimony of the child making the accusations.”
Conn said during opening statements that the alleged incidents, both those listed on the indictments and others for which Roe has not been indicted, stopped when the child was about 10 years old.
However, Conn said, in October of 2011 Roe allegedly offered to purchase a cell phone for the juvenile in exchange for sex. The child told someone at school about the alleged incident, which led to an interview with a social worker and a Kentucky State Police detective.
“The interview revealed there had been sexual abuse,” Conn said. “An arrest warrant was issued for Roe in November, but he was unable to be located until January.”
Defense Attorney James Osborne said in his opening statements that, with a heavy heart, he was attempting to defend an innocent man.
“Jeffery Roe is a man of little means,” Osborne said. “But being a father to growing children is difficult when you don’t have the means to buy them everything they want.”
Osborne alleged that the child who made the accusations against Roe was a good student but started to have discipline problems at school in 2011. He said that Roe began to monitor the child’s online browsing history and became worried about the sights the child was viewing, and the people the child was speaking with online.
“It is my job to show you how the Commonwealth cannot prove that this man is guilty,” Osborne told the jury. “We are going to show you a child who was tired of not having enough, and wanted out.”
Osborne claimed that the incidents that were alleged could not have occurred, and that the child had a motive to make the allegations.
Testimony in the case will resume Friday morning in Carter Circuit Court.
The Journal-Times will continue to follow the trial as it unfolds.