New trial begins for man accused of molestation

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A new trial began Monday for Robert Gruka, who is accused of molesting five girls.

Gruka first went to trial in September for a 14-count indictment that includes charges of aggravated child molestation, incest, aggravated sexual battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. That ended in a mistrial on the second day after Gruka’s last attorney, Jean Colohan, did not receive all the discovery documents because of an error made by the Public Defender’s Office.

One of the victims, now 29, testified in September that she lost her virginity to Gruka when she was 13 or 14 and later tried to commit suicide after a miscarriage. In opening statements Monday, Assistant District Attorney Natalie Paine detailed the charges against Gruka and his relationship with the victims. Gruka’s attorney, Peter Johnson, suggested to the jury that statements were contradictory and part of a larger conspiracy by the victims.

“We believe that (the state’s) offer of proof will fail,” Johnson said.


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