GAINESVILLE, Mo. -- A retired teacher and principal wants his trial moved out of Ozark County on a charge of having sexual contact with a student. Marion “Sonny” Trent of Thornfield denies the charge, which was filed last September.
Trent, 69, retired as an art teacher at Lutie School last year. He worked for the Gainesville School District as a teacher and principal in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Trent’s attorney, Chris Wade of Ava, told the Ozark County Times that Trent has been a foster parent for decades. The probable cause statement against him reads as if the boy who made the allegations might have been a foster son; it says the boy was staying at Trent’s home when he says the sexual contact happened.
According to the probable cause statement, which was written by Ozark County Sheriff’s Dept. Sgt. Cecilia Clayton, the boy said Trent rubbed his back and touched his genitals multiple times at Trent's house and during class at Lutie School. The boy said the rubbing and touching occurred between fall 2010 and May 2011.
The probable cause statement says the boy was intimidated by Trent and was told by the man that he would have no place to go if Trent kicked him out.
Clayton said she read Trent his legal rights and interviewed him. She said Trent said he applied medication to the student's back for acne and checked the student for abnormalities following a conversation on testicular cancer.
Before his preliminary hearing, Trent asked for judge from outside Ozark County. Wright County Associate Circuit Court Judge Lynette Veenstra of Hartville presided at the preliminary hearing on March 1 and found enough evidence to send the case to circuit court for a trial or plea. Wade told the newspaper that Trent denies all allegations and looks forward to clearing his name.
The case is not scheduled for trial. Circuit Court Judge Craig Carter of Ava has not ruled on the motion for a change of venue. The next hearing scheduled for the case is June 5.