Trial moves forward today

REED CITY — A former Evart resident found not guilty on criminal sexual conduct charges in June is back on trial in Osceola County’s 49th Circuit Court for a second case.

Francis Brent Mallo, of Loudon, Tenn., formerly of Evart, is charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. The charges stem from allegations by a former foster child, who claims Mallo inappropriately touched her when she was staying with the Mallo family. According to court documents, the incidents occurred between April 2009 and February 2010.

Cars filled the parking lots at Osceola County courthouse and nearby streets, as jury selection in the case began Tuesday morning. Mallo’s defense and the prosecution questioned potential jurors throughout the day, assessing each person’s fitness to serve as a juror.

The process lasted all day Tuesday and will continue Wednesday, Sept. 2, until all spots on the jury are filled. Once a jury is seated, opening statements and witness testimony will begin.

The victim in this case previously testified as a witness at both of Mallo’s other trials, which involved

three unrelated counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving another accuser. The woman in the first case claimed Mallo had assaulted her multiple times in the early 1990s when she worked as a babysitter for the Mallo family.

Mallo’s first trial on those charges in December ended in a mistrial, with jurors unable to reach a unanimous decision. Mallo was later re-tried on the same charges and found not guilty on June 2.

Four days have been set aside on the court calendar for the trial. Visiting Judge Ron Nichols is presiding over the trial proceedings. The second day of the trial begins at 9 a.m. today in Osceola County’s 49th Circuit Court.