Bond reduced for suspect in child molesting case

2012-09-18T16:58:00Z 2012-09-19T09:45:03Z Bond reduced for suspect in child molesting caseHeather Augustyn Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
September 18, 2012 4:58 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | A Porter County judge on Tuesday agreed to lower the bond of a Portage man charged with molesting four boys, but far less than the man's wife asked the court.

Bond for Christopher Truman was set at his initial hearing at $1 million but Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper on Tuesday agreed to reduce it to $600,000 after hearing requests from Truman’s attorney and wife.

Truman, 38, of the 1800 block of Center Street, appeared in court in shackles and handcuffs and remained silent throughout the hearing. He is accused of taking four boys, between the ages of 7 and 17, to Portage hotels to watch wrestling before molesting them. According to one boy, the molestation occurred more than 100 times.

In the courtroom, Truman watched as his wife, Lee Anne Truman, took the stand to plead hardship and said she had been unemployed for four months after quitting her job at the Porter County clerk’s office. She said her husband was the sole provider for the two.

“He has been employed by NIPSCO as a heavy equipment operator for nine years but according to human resources, if he doesn’t report to work by Sept. 26, he’ll be terminated,” said Lee Anne Truman, who feared losing their home, although she couldn’t answer Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek’s questions about the amount of equity in the property.

Larry Rogers, Truman’s attorney, said Truman would voluntarily surrender his passport upon bond reduction, but Polarek said the flight risk was closer than out of the country.

“Does Christopher (Truman) own a large amount of land he could retreat to?” asked Polarek of Lee Anne Truman, to which she responded that he did own 60 to 70 acres in Kentucky.Polarek argued that Lee Anne Truman’s pleas centered around her own well-being since they had no other family members relying on his support. 

Lee Anne Truman said a $10,000 bond would be fair.

“He has no children, yet he preys on the children of other people,” said Polarek, who asked Harper to note Truman’s own statement in his probable cause affidavit in which he said he “probably came into contact” with the boys’ genitalia.

Harper inquired how close the alleged victims lived, and Lee Anne Truman estimated the closest was five miles away from their home.

Rogers said that Truman would be willing to do whatever the court ordered and since he has been in jail he had not violated the no contact orders with the alleged victims, nor had his wife, and he was “entitled to a reasonable bond.”

“These are only allegations. Don’t punish him prior to trial,” Rogers told Harper.

But Polarek said a reduction would be a slap in the face.

“To lower the bond to $10,000 as Lee Anne (Truman) suggests is what you give to someone in possession of pills, not molesting four children,” she said.

Harper cited the large amount of money in Truman’s bank accounts, the large tract of land out of state, the number of allegations (six counts of child molesting and three counts of sexual misconduct with a minor) and his ties to the community.

“These are very very serious allegations. He is facing a period of incarceration that may cause him to want to leave. I look at community safety and even though he has had no prior convictions, I can reduce his bond to $600,000 cash,” Harper said.

 

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