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Rene Rodriguez hearing

Rene Redriguez, center, watches at prosecuting attorney Kristina Schindele (not pictured) during his pretrial hearing for sex abuse charges Oct. 30 at the Blaine County Courthouse in Hailey.

HAILEY — The trial began Tuesday for the former Lincoln County sheriff who faces charges of sexually abusing a child.

Rene Rodriguez, 41, was in court with his attorneys, Cheri Hicks and Justin McCarthy, as jury selection began before Fifth District Judge Ned Williamson at the Blaine County Courthouse.

A number of jurors had been excluded during a previous hearing, due to their answers on a questionnaire.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, jury selection was not final, according to the court clerk’s office. Court staff said they hoped to have the attorneys give opening statements before court adjourned for the evening.

Rodriguez was indicted by a grand jury on seven felony counts of sexually abusing an underage girl between 2005 and 2014, starting when the child was 9 years old. The multiple counts appear to be for different incidents with the same girl.

He was originally charged with one count of child sexual abuse of a minor under 16 years of age, four counts of lewd conduct with a child under 16, and two counts of rape.

One of the rape charges was dismissed after hearings earlier this month after Williamson ruled it was beyond the statute of limitations.

Rodriguez resigned on April 8.

The trial is expected to last four days, with the prosecution set to call seven witnesses.

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