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Child sex abuse trial continues in Jefferson Co., defendant could face 99 years if guilty

Proceedings were briefly disrupted when a man fled a nearby courtroom after he learned he was going to jail.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Testimony resumed on Wednesday morning in the trial of a Jefferson County man accused of continuous sexual abuse of a child. 

(Editor's Note: The above video aired on April 11, 2022.)

Leslie Thomas Frey's trial started with jury selection on Monday. A relative of the child was first to take the stand on Wednesday morning. She testified about how she learned of the accusation. The defense attorney asked the relative about how the allegation, if true, would affect the defendant and others.

Proceedings were briefly disrupted when a man fled a nearby courtroom after he learned he was going to jail.

Prosecutor Tatiana Zelezniak in opening statements said the child was about 5 or 6 years old when the abuse started happening to her. 

"We have waited a long time to get to this point," said Zelezniak. 

She said the young girl first told her school counselor when the students were given a lesson about “good touch, bad touch.” 

Defense Attorney Ryan Gertz in opening statements cautioned the jury about the language they will hear during court testimony. Gertz reminded them that all people are innocent unless they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 

“Some people are going to try and use that word victim, but the correct word, the word Ms. Zelezniak read from the indictment is complainant, because we don’t know what happened,” Gertz said.  

Testimony in Frey’s trial is ongoing. He faces from 25 to 99 years or life because the child is younger than 14 years old. 

A Jefferson County grand jury handed up a formal indictment to Frey in 2019.

This is a developing story. We will update with more if and when we receive more confirmed information.

Credit: JCSO

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