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Fayette County judge delays ruling on testimony by children in sexual assaults

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Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, 10:31 p.m.
 

A Fayette County judge will rule at a later date on how defense attorneys will be allowed to question two children when they take the stand in trials for two sexual assault cases that allegedly extended over an eight-year period.

President Judge John F. Wagner Jr. on Friday told attorneys for Elmer Plum, 71, of Menallen and Dawn Marie Bryner, 36, of Hibbs to file briefs supporting their efforts to be given latitude in questioning the credibility of the alleged victims, a boy and a girl.

Plum is charged with rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault and corruption of minors. Bryner is charged with statutory sexual assault and indecent assault.

A third defendant, Joshua Glenn Wolfe, 29, of New Salem, pleaded guilty in September to charges of aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault and corruption of minors and is scheduled to be sentenced this month, according to court records.

State police at Uniontown said the assaults began in 2003 and continued for eight years in homes in Masontown and Menallen.

A 15-year-old boy testified during a preliminary hearing in May that Plum began fondling him when he was 6 years old. The boy testified that Plum sexually assaulted him a number of times in the two residences, stopping when he turned 11.

Bryner is accused of sexually assaulting the boy at the Menallen home between 2009 and 2011.

A girl who was 10 at the time of the alleged assaults testified during a closed-door hearing with the prosecutor, the defense attorney and South Union District Judge Joseph George Jr. under the “tender years” statute for alleged victims who are younger than 12.

As a matter of policy, the Tribune-Review does not identify victims in cases of alleged sexual assaults.

Attorney James Natale, who is representing Bryner, is seeking to suppress as trial evidence statements made by his client.

Wagner agreed to delay the trials for both Plum and Bryner until February.

Both defendants are jailed on $250,000 bail each.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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