Jury selection began Monday for the trial of a man accused of sexually abusing a young girl over the course of several years.
Defense attorney Francisco Botto and prosecutor Mary Ann Scholl spent the previous weeks debating whether to allow the alleged victim’s service dog to be present in front of jurors.
“I think it’s important to distinguish between feelings and what they’re supposed to be deliberating on, which is the law and the facts of the case,” Botto said in court Monday.
A handful of potential jurors, however, told Judge James Cowlin that based on the nature of the case, they could not remain “fair and impartial.” Several people cited working with children, having children of their own or being uncomfortable with the subject matter as reasons they might struggle to repress personal biases.
The majority of people interviewed Monday, however, acknowledged that David J. Tapley is presumed innocent and said they could reach an objective verdict.
Tapley, 53, of the 400 block of Diamando Street, Crystal Lake, is charged with three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The charges came after allegations that Tapley inappropriately touched a young girl multiple times between March 2010 and May 2015.
The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office offered to dismiss two counts if he pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse and accepted a sentence of two years of probation and 180 days in jail.
“I can’t accept that offer,” Tapley told Cowlin on Monday. “I would have to lie to you to accept that offer, and I’m not willing to do so.”
The trial will continue Tuesday.