BEAUMONT, Texas — Testimony began Tuesday before Raquel West in the 252nd District Court for the trial of a Jefferson County man who is accused of continuous sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14.
Jury selection for the trial of Leslie Thomas Frey began Monday, nearly three years after he was first formally indicted in 2019. COVID-19 restrictions and other factors have delayed the trial of the defendant.
Because the alleged victim is younger than 14, Frey could face anywhere from 25 to 99 years or life in prison if he is found guilty.
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.”
The counselor would be among the witnesses called to the stand, according to Zelezniak.
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.
Gertz also told the jury that the first thing the child said at the Garth House was in a cheery voice as she asked, “Are you ready to hear my story now?” He said when the complainant is on the stand, they won’t hear her speak like that.
Gertz also told the jury that the complainant gave her third-grade teacher an account of what happened and noted that it was two years after it was alleged to happen.
Gertz described it as an *-year-old’s account of what happened when she was 5 or 6.
This is a developing story. We will update with more if and when we receive more confirmed information.
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