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Trial delayed for man charged in child sex assault

Trial has been delayed for a man charged with assaulting a girl under the age of 13 multiple times in 2015 while in Livingston County.

34-year-old Jonathan Truax is charged with seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He had been set to stand trial on Monday, but court records show it has been adjourned until October 16th to accommodate his attorney’s schedule.

Truax’s case had been on hold after he filed a motion to disqualify the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office (LCPO) from prosecuting his case, which was initially denied by the Michigan Court of Appeals. An appeal was then sought from the Michigan Supreme Court, which issued a ruling in March that it was declining to take up the case because the justices were “not persuaded that the question presented should be reviewed by this Court.”

Truax sought the disqualification because he was initially represented by attorney Rolland Sizemore. But Sizemore withdrew from the case after he accepted a position as an assistant prosecuting attorney (APA) with the LCPO. Truax’s new attorney then filed a motion to disqualify the LCPO, arguing that Sizemore’s conflict of interest should be imputed to the entire office.

At an evidentiary hearing conducted in Livingston County Circuit Court, Carolyn Henry, the LCPO’s chief APA, testified the LCPO has a written conflict policy to ensure that a “wall” is implemented to screen staff members from cases where a conflict exists. In that instance, the staffer is excluded from any participation in then case and from viewing any documents or material relating to the case, including electronic alerts if Sizemore attempted to access them.

Sizemore then testified that he had not communicated with anyone at the LCPO about any of his conflict cases, had not accessed any of the physical files from his former office, had not accessed any of the electronic files for the screened matters, and had no intentions of sharing any details of the screened cases.

After the circuit court denied Truax’s motion, he made the appeal. It also failed after the COA determined that proper safeguards had been put in place and that there was no evidence in the record that the LCPO’s conflict policy was not followed.

If convicted, Truax faces up to life in prison.

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