FOREST CITY, Iowa – A judge has granted a motion for a change of venue in a case of alleged sexual abuse of young girls.
Clarence Miller, 80, of Thompson, is charged with six counts of second degree Sexual Abuse. During a hearing Thursday morning, the defense requested that separate trials be held so that any evidence of assault of one victim does not impact a jury’s consideration of other crimes. The defense also asked that the trials be moved out of Winnebago County.
Judge DeDra Schroeder signed orders granting the defense’s requests. In the order for change of venue, she states, “The alleged victims in all counts are local children. Winnebago County is a relatively sparsely populated county. Word of mouth, the nature of the community, and the nature of many persons’ unfortunate propensities to quickly form opinions regarding guilt, all lead this Court to conclude that to avoid any potential problems in selecting a fair and impartial jury.”
Three trials will now be held. The first will be in Butler County on September 30, the second in Bremer County on October 14, and the third in Butler County on October 28.
Miller is a former bus driver for the North Iowa School District. Officials with the district have told KIMT News 3 that none of the alleged incidents happened on school property. Court documents indicate that Miller was a family friend and caregiver to the children at the time of the alleged abuse.