Stanislaus County trial for state lawmaker Olsen’s husband postponed

03/25/2014 1:04 PM

03/25/2014 6:26 PM

A judge on Tuesday postponed a trial for the husband of a state lawmaker because the prosecution handed over about 25 pages of discovery evidence Friday afternoon.

Rod Olsen faces a misdemeanor charge of willful child cruelty related to claims of mistreatment of a 4-year-old boy at a youth soccer practice in Modesto. His wife, state Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, was with him in court Tuesday morning, ready to see the trial get started.

Robert Forkner, Olsen’s defense attorney, told the judge he needs time to review the discovery evidence before proceeding with the trial. After the hearing, Forkner spoke to news media on behalf of his client. “Mr. Olsen wants to clear his name as soon as possible, and he’s frustrated by this delay,” Forkner said outside the courtroom.

The defense attorney said his office received the discovery evidence from prosecutors about 4 p.m. Friday, when it should have been handed over months ago. He said the evidence includes witness statements, text messages, emails and phone messages. Some of the information is helpful to Olsen’s defense, according to Forkner.

The incident is claimed to have occurred Aug. 12 during a Modesto Youth Soccer Association practice at Standiford Park on Tokay Avenue. The child’s mother has told The Modesto Bee that Rod Olsen grabbed her child so violently by the arm that he left bruises and caused the boy to wet his pants.

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.

Judge David Vanderwall rescheduled the trial to start April 15 and scheduled a pretrial hearing April 11 to make sure the trial will start on time.

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