Alleged molesters may question girls during trial

Posted: Friday, May 17, 2002

JUNEAU(AP) -- A judge has ruled that a Sitka couple accused of sexually molesting children may cross-examine the alleged victims.

Cynthia Sky, 40, and Dick Blue Sky, 48, are on trial in Juneau, facing 37 counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor.

Ketchikan Superior Court Judge Michael Thompson, who is presiding over the trial, made his ruling Wednesday after the couple's attorneys said they weren't prepared to cross-examine witnesses because the Skys had not cooperated with them.

One of the alleged victims, an 11-year-old girl, took the stand Wednesday. The defense didn't question her, but may recall her for questioning later, the Juneau Empire reported.

District Attorney Rick Svobodny said the remaining two alleged victims would testify Thursday.

Beside the 37 counts against the couple, Dick Blue Sky is charged with nine additional counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, failure to register as a sex offender and one count of felony misconduct involving weapons. All the charges are felonies.

The charges against the Skys stem from alleged multiple acts of sex abuse against three girls, who ranged in age from 3 to 13 when the alleged abuse took place from 1994 to 2001. The Skys were arrested Feb. 15, 2001.

Thompson said he would let the couple question the girls because ''I can't let these people get up here and say all these things and have them go unchallenged.''

While the judge was making his ruling, the mother of the 11-year-old girl shouted, ''They are just children.''

The Skys have made numerous requests to remove their attorneys, public defenders Darrell Gardner and Sidney Billingslea, from the case. In court documents, the couple said they don't trust the Office of Public Advocacy, which supplies state-funded defense attorneys when the Public Defender Agency can't take the case.

The Skys are being tried together but are represented by separate attorneys.

Billingslea, Cynthia Sky's attorney, and Gardner, Blue Sky's attorney, had asked to be removed from the case. They said their clients would not share information about the case and had remained silent until Monday, when jury selection began.

Thompson refused to allow the Skys to represent themselves or to let Billingslea and Gardner step down as counsel. The result is a hybrid situation in which the attorneys and the Skys may question witnesses.



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