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Sex assault trial set to resume for Hampton man

BRENTWOOD - The trial of a Hampton man who has been accused of sexually assaulting three children is set to resume in March in the wake of defense lawyers discovering new evidence after a jury was selected last month.

Leonard Aldrich, 64, faces three counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault and two counts of felonious sexual assault for allegedly abusing the children between December 2010 and January 2012. Aldrich's trial was about to begin the week of Dec. 11 in Rockingham County Superior Court for all three alleged assaults when he asked for more time to review "recently discovered information that he claimed required further investigation," according to a court order.

Judge Marguerite Wageling denied that request and moved forward with jury selection, but then agreed to review confidential records obtained by defense lawyer Patrick Fleming.

A review of those sealed records prompted Wageling to allow the defense the extension they requested, according to the order.

Hampton police arrested Aldrich last Jan. 29 after the children's mother reported to police that she walked in on the 64-year-old molesting two of the girls, then aged 6 and 2. Police later charged Aldrich with sexually assaulting a 6-year-old boy between December 2010 and December 2011.

Only one of the three children - the boy, now 7 - is expected to testify after prosecutors deemed the two girls were not competent enough to give testimony in light of their age and ability to recall events.

Prosecutors had learned on Dec. 5 that the older of the two girls was not competent to testify after saying she did not remember what happened and could not provide a narrative of the events. In the months leading up to trial, prosecutors and defense lawyers have been sparring over what testimony will be allowed at trial.

Aldrich is being held at the Rockingham County jail. He could face decades in prison if he is found guilty to a jury. The trial is scheduled to begin March 4.


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