Former teacher won't get new venue

aclark@herald-leader.comJune 27, 2009 

A Fayette Circuit judge denied a motion Friday to move out of Fayette County the trial of a former Beaumont Middle School science teacher accused of raping and sodomizing two students in the late 1970s.

An attorney for Jack Russell Hubbard submitted a change of venue motion to Fayette Circuit Judge James D. Ishmael Jr. at a status hearing last week. Attorney William Butler, who represents Hubbard, said coverage related to his client's case could make it difficult to assemble an impartial jury.

But Ishmael said jury selection will reveal how much potential jurors know about Hubbard's case, and the court will proceed from there.

"We should at the very least give it a try," he said.

Hubbard is charged with four counts of first-degree sodomy and one count of first-degree rape that stem from accusations from former students Thomas "Beau" Goodman III and Carol Lynne Maner, respectively. Hubbard's trial is scheduled for July 13 and 14.

The Herald-Leader does not generally identify people who allege sexual abuse. However, Maner came forward after she filed the civil lawsuit, and Goodman's attorneys also have discussed the case after Maner filed her lawsuit.

Hubbard, who now lives in Texas, was arrested in July 2007 in Pennsylvania as Maner was testifying in a high-profile civil trial in Lexington against the Fayette County School Board.

Maner had accused the school board of ignoring a pattern of alleged sexual abuse against her by several school board employees. She won a $3.9 million verdict that the Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld May 22.

A May 23 Herald-Leader article about the appellate decision mentioned Hubbard and prompted Butler to file the change of venue motion. He said the article brought attention back to Hubbard's case.

But Ishmael said he has covered several high-profile cases in which he has "been a little surprised that (jurors) don't know about cases I feel are of public importance."

"We just think that everybody reads every word" of newspaper articles about high-profile cases, Ishmael said.

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