Trial begins for child sex abuse case
An elderly man is standing trial for serious sexual charges.
Ronald Bird was 79 years old when he was arrested and charged with molesting a then-4-year-old girl.
The Rexburg Police Department arrested Bird in 2009.
Bird, now 82, sat through a very long jury selection process Wednesday.
The nature of this case is very sensitive, so prosecuting attorneys took more than an hour to make sure the potential jurors were prepared to hear testimony of a sexual nature and to see a child cry on the witness stand.
The defense is mostly concerned about local media reports interfering with the jurors' view of the case.
Bird faces three counts of felony sexual abuse of a child under 16 and two counts of lewd conduct with a child under 16.
Bird's attorney, Jim Archibald, denies that anything sexual ever happened between his client and the alleged victim.
"[Bird] said that yes, there was touching between he and this girl, but it was not of a sexual purpose," Archibald said.
According to Archibald, the alleged victim was Bird's neighbor, who would often come to his house and play.
Prosecutors declined to comment.
Just one charge of lewd conduct with a child under 16 could carry a life sentence.
Since his arrest, Bird has been free on bond.
His trial continues Thursday.
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