Charles Steele trial began on Thursday in Elk County Court

Staff Writer

An Elk County man, who is facing 30 charges, including multiple counts of indecent assault on a person younger than 13, corruption of minors and aggravated sexual assault, began his trial on Thursday in Ridgway. Charles Steele is representing himself and is free on bond.
On June 6, Attorney John Thomas was appointed as standby counsel for Steele, as is required by state statute. In this role, Thomas will advise Steele on matters of law and court procedure, but Steele is acting as his own litigant. 
The Steele case is one of the longest ongoing litigations in Elk County Court. Originally accused in 2005, the case against Steele floundered for many years as the defendant used the significant financial resources available to him to delay hearings for a long list of reasons. After originally being shelved for almost eight years, a new investigator took a look at the case and spoke to the now-adult victim, making significant breaks in the case that allowed it to be refiled in 2016. The case again faced numerous legal challenges by Steele until finally a jury was chosen in early June, in what the victim's mother called "a relief.”

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