August trial date set for ex-chaplain accused of sex assault

Kenneth Dewitt Update

NEWPORT, Ark. (AP) - A preliminary trial date has been set for a former Arkansas women's prison chaplain charged with 50 counts of sexual assault after authorities say he coerced three inmates into engaging in sexual acts.

Kenneth Dewitt has pleaded not guilty to the charges. A Jackson County Circuit Court judge agreed Wednesday to combine the charges brought on behalf of the three women into one trial, preliminarily set for Aug. 11.

Dewitt resigned from the McPherson women's prison unit in September 2014 after admitting to having a sexual relationship with a subordinate in the chaplain's office.

Dewitt's attorney, Jeff Rosenzweig, said in court Wednesday that he would continue negotiations with the prosecuting attorney's office. Prosecutor Henry Boyce wouldn't say whether a plea deal is being discussed and says he's preparing for trial.

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