Oakdale man accused of sex abuse hospitalized, misses arraignment

10/04/2013 4:54 PM

10/04/2013 9:59 PM

An Oakdale man accused of sexual misconduct with a teenage boy over a five-year period did not appear for his arraignment hearing Friday afternoon because he has been hospitalized.

Paul Birmingham, 55, has been charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child, sending harmful materials to seduce a minor, oral copulation and sexual penetration with force.

Authorities allege that Birmingham started molesting the boy when he was 13, according to a criminal complaint filed in court Sept. 23. The alleged victim spoke to detectives about Birmingham in late July, Stanislaus County sheriff’s officials have said.

Tai Bogan, Birmingham’s defense attorney, appeared on his client’s behalf at Friday’s hearing. Bogan told the judge that his client likely will not be released from the hospital before Oct. 25. He asked the judge to postpone the arraignment.

Judge Nan Cohan Jacobs said in court that Birmingham was hospitalized Sept. 7, which is the day after the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department sent out a news release about his arrest. She said Birmingham has been a patient in the hospital since then.

Birmingham was arrested Sept. 5 and later released on $250,000 bail. The judge and the defense attorney did not discuss in court why Birmingham was hospitalized, and Bogan asked the judge not to reveal the hospital’s name, to ensure his client’s privacy and safety.

Deputy District Attorney Annette Rees told the judge she was aware of the defendant’s hospitalization. The prosecutor asked the judge to issue a bench warrant for Birmingham, but the warrant will go into effect only if the defendant doesn’t appear for his next hearing without a good reason.

Jacobs granted the requests from both attorneys. She issued the stayed bench warrant and scheduled the arraignment to continue Nov. 1 in Stanislaus County Superior Court.

Bogan told the judge his client remains on bail and is monitored with a GPS ankle bracelet while at the hospital to track his whereabouts.

Sheriff’s officials have said Birmingham is a former Boy Scout troop leader. They also said investigators released information about Birmingham’s time with the Boy Scouts “in case he had any additional inappropriate contact with any juveniles.”

Local Boy Scouts of America officials said Birmingham has not been involved with the organization since about 2004.

The alleged sexual misconduct occurred from Feb. 24, 2008, through July 29, 2013. There is no indication Birmingham met the boy while volunteering with the Boy Scouts, and only one alleged victim is listed in the criminal complaint.

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