State Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen was in a Stanislaus County courtroom Monday morning with her husband, who faces a misdemeanor charge related to the claimed mistreatment of a 4-year-old boy at a youth soccer practice in Modesto.
Rod Olsen is charged with misdemeanor willful child cruelty.
Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Marie Silveira confirmed that Olsen’s trial will start March 25. The judge also scheduled a pretrial hearing Friday to determine whether the prosecution has received subpoenaed documents.
Robert Forkner, Olsen’s defense attorney, spoke to The Bee briefly about the case after Monday’s court hearing. He said his client denies touching this child and would never harm a child in this manner.
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“I personally interviewed the (alleged victim’s) father,” Forkner read from a prepared statement. “He told me that the mother has ‘coached the child to lie before.’ ”
Attempts by The Bee to reach the boy’s mother Monday were not successful. The child’s mother has told The Bee that Olsen grabbed her child so violently by the arm that he left bruises and caused the child to wet his pants.
Forkner said he advised his client and Assemblywoman Olsen not to speak to The Bee after Monday’s short pretrial hearing. He said his client looks forward to clearing his name and will likely have a lot to say publicly after he is vindicated.
The defense attorney also said this case never should have been filed by prosecutors and already should have been dismissed.
“This prosecution is politically motivated,” Forkner said in the courthouse hallway.
Assistant District Attorney Carol Shipley denied Forkner’s allegations of a politically motivated prosecution and declined to comment further, saying it would be inappropriate to comment about a pending criminal case.
The 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.
If Olsen 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.