State lawmaker speaks about husband’s Stanislaus County criminal case

03/21/2014 3:27 PM

03/21/2014 11:11 PM

State Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen on Friday spoke publicly for the first time about her husband’s criminal case. Rod Olsen faces a misdemeanor charge related to alleged mistreatment of a 4-year-old boy at a youth soccer practice in Modesto.

The Olsens spoke to The Modesto Bee shortly after a pretrial hearing in Stanislaus Superior Court. The judge said the trial should start Tuesday, as previously scheduled.

“I’m looking forward to being by my husband’s side next week as we go to court to clear his name from this ridiculously false accusation,” the Republican lawmaker from Riverbank said outside court Friday morning.

The child’s mother has told The Bee that Rod Olsen grabbed her child so violently by the arm that he left bruises and caused the boy to wet his pants. On Friday, she said she hopes no one else has to experience what her son and her family have had to go through in the past several months.

“I am confident that justice will be served for my son and my family,” the boy’s mother said.

She said this case is about a 4-year-old boy who was “terrified,” not about politics.

Rod Olsen is charged with misdemeanor willful child cruelty.

The alleged incident occurred Aug. 12 during a Modesto Youth Soccer Association practice at Standiford Park on Tokay Avenue.

The boy’s mother told an investigator that she saw Rod Olsen walk across the soccer field toward her son and grab the boy’s upper left arm, according to an affidavit filed in court Oct. 10. The mother told the investigator that Olsen yelled at her son, accusing the boy of hitting his son.

“My heart breaks for this poor little boy and what he’s had to deal with, but the fact is my husband never laid a hand on him,” Kristin Olsen said.

Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Marie Silveira, who is in the middle of a lengthy murder trial out of Madera County, said Olsen’s case likely will be handled by another judge. The Madera case was moved to Stanislaus County because it had gained a lot of news coverage before a jury was selected.

“I’m looking forward in just four days to telling my side of the story and ultimately proving my innocence,” Rod Olsen said Friday with his attorney Robert Forkner standing nearby.

If the defendant is convicted, the maximum sentence for the misdemeanor charge is six months in county jail. Other terms include mandatory probation for 48 months, a protective order for the victim against the defendant and at least one year of child abuse treatment counseling.

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