Jury selection is underway in the trial of a former Sitka school administrator charged with 10 counts of sexual assault.
But it could take a while to empanel 14 impartial residents
Of the two dozen potential jurors interview by Superior Court Judge David George this morning (5-12-14), only four were not acquainted with the defendant, Joe Robidou, who resigned as principal of Blatchley Middle School in Sitka early last year.
Many prospective jurors knew not only Robidou, but also knew three of the female teachers in the building he is alleged to have assaulted.
Judge George decided to take the unusual step of interviewing each prospective juror in private, with the attorneys present, in order to avoid tainting the jury pool.
At a meeting with attorneys prior to selection, Judge George expressed a desire to empanel a jury today, and to hear opening arguments in the case.
Of the 14 people to be selected today, only 12 will render a verdict in the case. The other two will hear the entire trial, but sit in reserve as alternates.