Marion Man Accused in Two Sex Cases Asks Court for Change of Venue

By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A Marion man accused of sexually abusing a child and sexually assaulting a woman in a separate incident is asking for a change of venue for his two back to back trials set in early 2013, claiming media coverage from the first trial will make it impossible to seat a fair and impartial jury for the second trial.

James Olds, 44, is charged in one case with second-degree sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of a minor, lascivious acts with a child, lascivious conduct with a minor, indecent contact with a child and indecent exposure and false imprisonment. He is accused of sexually abusing and repeatedly exploiting a girl between the time she was 3 1/2 to when she was 6 years old, according to a criminal complaint and search warrant. The child also told investigators she was made to disrobe while Olds took photos of her, and that he tied her to a chair while taking photos.

In the second case, Olds is charged with third-degree sexual abuse. He is accused of sexually assaulting a woman Aug. 19, 2009 at his residence, according to a criminal complaint.

Olds' case involving sexual abuse of a child is set Jan. 28, and the other trial is to start Feb. 4, according to court records.

Olds attorney, John Jacobsen, argues in the motion filed Wednesday that The Gazette has been present for all pre-trial conferences and hearings and the "intense" media coverage will likely continue, citing the recent Jerome Power murder trial where a reporter provided live coverage of that trial, which included a "running commentary back and forth with the reporter and members of the community."

"Such extensive coverage creates a minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day inundation of information, speculation, discussion that will ultimately not allow any member of the community and that of the potential jury pool for the following trial to not be influenced by the preceding matter," Jacobsen said in the motion.

Jacobsen said the court has ordered there can be no further continuances so the trials would be back to back and in the second trial the potential jurors would have to be asked if they had any knowledge or had read about the first trial, which would create bias and prevent impartiality.
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