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Accused teacher's trial venue under advisement

A Tippecanoe County judge is still deciding whether to grant Joseph Kimerer's request for an out of county jury.

Posted: Aug. 1, 2018 7:14 PM
Updated: Aug. 1, 2018 7:17 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Is the former Earhart Elementary teacher accused of sex crimes against children getting too much coverage for a fair trial? That's what his attorney thinks.

A judge is taking the matter under advisement. 

Earl McCoy is representing Joseph Kimerer who faces several counts including vicarious sexual gratification with a child, inappropriate communication, child exploitation, and child solicitation.

McCoy argues people in Tippecanoe County have already made up their minds about those charges. 

He said the comment section in online news reports are the most concerning.

McCoy said he has seen the local bias about this case first hand.

"There have been people that have commented to me that they have supported me in endeavors in the past but would not support me if they had known that I was working on this particular case," said McCoy. 

He also described another situation where a woman approached him at a local grocery store. 

"She looked at me and said, 'How does it feel to be the most hated attorney in Lafayette?' And I said, really? Just because of one case? And she said, 'Yeah, because of one case.' Talking about this particular case," described McCoy.

McCoy isn't asking to send the trial to another county. He wants to pull a jury from somewhere else and place them in Tippecanoe County.

McCoy also argues his client knows a substantial number of people in the community because he taught and coached here.

He said there are multiple alleged victims who have local connections as well.

Different alleged victims is one reason McCoy believes there should be multiple trials in this case.

McCoy said he plans to file a motion to sever the charges because he feels some of the crimes and victims are unrelated to each other.

The state quoted several similar case rulings to defend its argument that this case did not meet the standard to move the trial out of county. Prosecutors also said extensive news coverage alone does not prove an unfair jury.

However, the burden of proof in this motion of a change of venue is on Kimerer, not the state. 

McCoy submitted 24 exhibits of evidence for the judge to review. 

We will continue to cover this case and bring you the latest on the judge's decision, here and on News 18. 

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