Share This Page

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

| 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.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.