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Home » News » Crime

May 20. 2014 6:40PM

Salem babysitter’s 73-year-old husband on trial for sexual assault of child at his home


RONALD LIBBY 

BRENTWOOD — A 73-year-old Salem man is on trial for allegedly trying to have sexual contact with a young girl who was baby-sat at his home between 2008 and 2010.

Opening arguments began Tuesday in trial of Ronald Libby, who is facing a single count of attempted aggravated felonious sexual assault for allegedly trying to get the girl to touch him between September 2008 and July 2010. The girl, now 10, testified in Rockingham County Superior Court about how she was solicited by Libby while being baby-sat by his wife.

Libby would sit in a recliner in the living room where she watched television, the girl testified. She told jurors that Libby dropped his pants or showed himself in his underwear, instructing her to touch him but to not tell his wife.

“At 5 or 6 years old, it seemed to her that he wanted to play a game, but it was a game that no one else asked her to play before,” Assistant County Attorney Kirsten Wilson said during open arguments.

The girl’s mother testified that she began to get an idea that something was wrong one day when she went to pick up her daughter from being baby-sat.

“She was agitated, her voice was raised, and she was crying,” the girl’s mother said.

A moment later, Libby’s wife, Nellie, was at the mother’s doorstep, saying that she never had any trouble with children being baby-sat at her home, according to Wilson. Libby stood next to his wife looking at the ground while she spoke.

“At this point, (the mother) doesn’t know what the allegations are,” Wilson said. “She is just trying to calm her daughter down.”

Defense lawyer William Korman argued during opening statements that the girl simply fabricated a story about his client.

Libby was suffering from a slew of medical issues, moved slowly and lived in a house too small for anything nefarious to take place undetected by his wife, according Korman.

“The physical layout of the house will show it is next to impossible,” Korman said.

He said Libby’s wife “couldn’t have been more than 30 feet from where Mr. Libby was at all times.”

The case is expected to be the first of three trials for Libby, who faces charges that he had sexual contact with two other young girls in the 1990s. A grand jury indicted Libby in February on charges of felonious sexual assault and attempted felonious sexual assault on those two cases. The latest charges are expected to be tried separately.

Jurors are not allowed to hear about the other allegations Libby is facing. Testimony is expected to resume today.

jkimble@newstote.com


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