A Spokane County Superior Court judge agreed on Thursday to delay trial of the second child sex abuse lawsuit against Morning Star Boys’ Ranch for one week while the state Court of Appeals for Division III decides whether to review her decision to limit the testimony of former residents who claim to have been abused.
Jury selection in the case of George H. Minehart II will begin May 10 unless the higher court takes up the issue of whether Judge Kathleen O’Connor was correct in ruling that only those former residents who say they reported their alleged abuse at the time it occurred may testify. The trial had been scheduled to begin Monday.
Attorneys for the plaintiff believe residents’ testimony could support allegations that Morning Star administrators knew or should have known of sexual abuse at the home for troubled boys and did nothing to stop it.
The Appeals Court ruling could have a significant impact on not only Minehart’s trial, but 16 Morning Star lawsuits waiting to be tried in O’Connor’s court.