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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Hearings canceled; judge may change

  • A change of judge has apparently been requested for a retired state trooper facing child sexual abuse charges.
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  • A change of judge has apparently been requested for a retired state trooper facing child sexual abuse charges.
    A Feb. 6 motion hearing for former state trooper James D. Hall was canceled and an email sent to the Office of the State Courts Administrator for judicial assignment. The case was being heard by Special Judge Charles Dennis Curless.
    Hall, who served Newton County for more than 30 years as a member of Troop D of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, faces charges of child molestation and third-degree assault stemming from accusations made by two minors, both girls under the age of 13.
    Though the Newton County Sheriff's Department performed the initial investigation, those findings have been turned over to the office of Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, due to Hall's previous professional relationship with the Newton County prosecutor's office.
    According to a probable cause affidavit, written by Jared Roderick of the Public Safety Division of the Missouri Attorney General's Office, the most recent alleged incidents occurred in February 2012.
    Hall is charged with a Class B felony for first-degree child molestation, stemming from repeated incidents when Hall allegedly inappropriately touched an 11-year-old girl's buttocks and genitals through her clothing while she was visiting his home.
    A probable cause affidavit states Hall allegedly touched another 11-year-old girl's top and inner thighs during a church Bible study.
    A Feb. 13 arraignment has also been canceled.
    • • •
    A Seneca man accused of drugging and raping a woman at his home last November will be back in court March 1.
    Ronald G. Seward, 48, is facing felony charges of forcible rape – sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion, and second-degree assault, according to Missouri CaseNet.
    A preliminary hearing was held in January, in which Associate Circuit Judge Gregory Stremel ordered the case go to trial in Newton County Circuit Court.
    Arraignment was held Feb. 1, the same day William J. Fleischaker, representing Seward, filed a motion for bond reduction or for an order releasing Seward on his own recognizance.
    A motion hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m. March 1 before Associate Circuit Judge Kevin Selby.
    Charges were filed against Seward in mid-November, stemming from an incident when he allegedly drugged and raped a woman at his residence in the 4000 block of Redbud Road, in Seneca.
    The woman reported taking a pill Seward said was Xanax, which caused her to lose consciousness, at which time she believes she was raped.
    When she came to, the woman reportedly escaped from Seward's residence to the nearby Swars Prairie Church of Christ, where she received a ride from a mother and son who drove her to get help.

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