February 8, 2013

Former DSC professor could go to trial next week with new attorney (updated 6:35 p.m.)

From Staff Reports

— An ex-Dalton State College professor charged with sexual crimes against at least three young girls could go to trial as early as next week.

On Friday, Whitfield County Superior Court Judge Cindy Morris put priority on a separate case for Monday’s court calendar, but said “the prosecution (of Monte Gale Salyer) needs to be ready if something falls through.” If it does, Salyer’s trial will likely start on Wednesday.

Salyer, of Rocky Face, quit his job teaching English as a second language at Dalton State after he was arrested in February 2012. He faces two counts of rape, one count of statutory rape, three counts of child molestation, five counts of aggravated child molestation and one count of criminal attempt to commit a felony. He is accused of molesting an 8-year-old relative and two other children he befriended at church over a period of several years.

Assistant District Attorney Ben Kenemer said the DA’s office will need Tuesday to organize witnesses should the other case get delayed.

Defense attorney James Meaney asked Morris for more time because “the defense isn’t in a position to go forward; the case is very serious,” but Morris said she was moving the case to trial “since it has been on the calendar long enough.”

Kenemer agreed.

“The victims are ready to have this trial,” he said.

Meaney began representing Salyer in January after Marcus Morris filed to withdraw as Salyer’s counsel in December, citing an “ethical conflict” related to rules 3.3 and 1.16 of the state Rules of Professional Conduct. Rule 3.3 deals with knowingly presenting false information and rule 1.16 outlines a broad range of circumstances under which an attorney may stop representing someone.

On Dec. 18, Salyer asked for trial, rejecting a deal in which he would have pleaded to several lesser offenses, resulting in a sentence of 20 years in prison followed by 10 years on probation. Several of the charges he now faces could result in up to life in prison without parole if he is convicted of them.