Trial begins today for man accused of molesting children in ’Busco

CHURUBUSCO — A two-day jury trial for a man charged with molesting three young children in Churubusco begins today.

Michael Monnier, 33, of Huntington, is facing five counts of child molesting in incidents that allegedly took place more than 7 years ago.

According to a case report by the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, the alleged crimes took place between January 2008 and December 2009. The children were elementary-aged and according to court documents, attended Churubusco Elementary School. They are now teenagers.

Monnier appeared in Whitley County Circuit Court last week for his final pretrial conference.

Jury selection will take place this morning and opening statements are expected to begin late morning or early afternoon.

Trial date set for woman accused of sexual misconduct

Heather Reid, 34, is set for a two-day jury trial starting June 20.

She was arrested in October 2016 and faces two counts of sexual misconduct.

Her attorney indicated Monday that the process was delayed as he awaited information from mobile application, Snapchat.

A final pretrial conference for Reid has been set for June 12.

She was released from the Whitley County Jail Nov. 3, 2016 on a $10,000 surety bond.

Man sentenced to 6 years for child molesting

Jacob French, 18, of Columbia City, was sentenced to six years — four to serve at the Whitley County Jail and two suspended — after he admitted to molesting a 13-year-old female.

French’s defense attorney, Anthony Churchward, argued on behalf of French prior to the sentencing, telling the court that French had been dating the girl prior to turning 18.

Thirty days after his 18th birthday, French ended the relationship. Authorities were informed after the relationship had ended.

“Most of the relationship occurred while Jacob was a juvenile,” Churchward said.

“Thirteen-year-olds are off limits sexually,” Prosecutor Sigler countered.

Judge James Heuer echoed Sigler’s sentiment.

“A four-year age difference is not significant between a 25- and 21-year-old couple,” Heuer said. “There is a major difference between 13 and 18 years old.”

French sought a sentence to home detention, however, Heuer told him that placement would be premature to consider prior to serving time.

Man gets 11 years in burglary case

The relationship between Terry Roberts and Judge Heuer is extensive. Unfortunately, it’s not positive.

Roberts was sentenced by Heuer yet again Monday, this time for burglary, stealing a vehicle, theft and receiving stolen property.

Roberts has a record of 20 misdemeanors and five felonies.

“The first time you were in this courtroom was 16 years ago,” Heuer said. “At this point, it is obvious you have no respect for the law.”

Heuer sentenced Roberts to 11 years — partially served at the Indiana Department of Corrections and partially at the Whitley County Jail, with potential be in the work release program to pay his restitution, which is in excess of $5,000.

Sigler argued for a strong sentence against Roberts.

“I don’t think he is a candidate for anything but a jail cell,” Sigler said. “He stole from a cemetery. He doesn’t care about the community. He’s asked for the maximum sentence — I think he deserves it.”

As part of the plea deal, the maximum sentence was 13.5 years. Heuer said the only reason he didn’t give Roberts the full sentence was because he pleaded guilty without taking the case to trial.

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