As second trial for Jacob Ewing begins, town remains divided ove - KCTV5

As second trial for Jacob Ewing begins, town remains divided over rape charges

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A jury has been seated in the second trial of a man facing a string of sexual assault charges that have divided the small Kansas town of Holton. (KCTV5) A jury has been seated in the second trial of a man facing a string of sexual assault charges that have divided the small Kansas town of Holton. (KCTV5)
HOLTON, KS (KCTV) -

A jury has been seated in the second trial of a man facing a string of sexual assault charges that have divided the small Kansas town of Holton.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that 13 of the 23 people excused Monday from serving on 22-year-old Jacob Ewing's jury said they couldn't be impartial. They cited friendships and business ties to Ewing and his prominent family.

Overall, there are six women accusing Ewing in four separate trials. The suspect is a business owner's son and former high school athlete. 

One prospective juror said her daughter had dated Ewing. As the courtroom emptied for lunch, another prospective juror exchanged a hug with the defendant's mother.

The latest trial involves allegations from two of the five women he is charged with sexually assaulting. Additional trials are scheduled in August and October. 

Support is now strained and lines have been drawn in the small town of 3,300 people. 

William Levitt has known the defendant and family for decades. 

"I don't see it," Levitt said. "I don't see how it's possible. When you grow up around someone all their lives, you get how they are and know them. It's easy to rally behind him." 

Around Holton, you'll find signs in yards supporting Ewing. A GoFundMe page has raised thousands. 

Michelle McCormick, a victim's advocate, says people supporting an individual accused of rape is nothing new, but it feels different in Holton because it feels much of the town doubts the accusers. 

"I think we ask these victims to do a lot in these cases," McCormick said. "Agencies like ours see a decrease in reporting because they see how people are treated when they step forward and ask for justice."

During Ewing's first trial in April, he was acquitted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.

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