Jury Selection Continues in Cluck Trial

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - UPDATED - As of 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning counselors are still interviewing potential jurors in the Monica Cluck trial.

Jury selection for this trial is very important to Miss Cluck, her attorney, and the State due to the circumstances surrounding the charges of sexual assault of a minor.

The allegations came about after a videotaped surfaces last year showing Cluck with a 17-year-old boy from the choir at her church in Marmaduke.

On of the things the State must prove in this case is that Cluck was in a caretaker or authoritative role.

It will be necessary to prove that, because it is expected testimony from the teens will reveal that the sexual acts were consensual.

Issues like these are weighing heavily on the minds of attorneys as jury selection continues.

Region 8 News will be here in Paragould and bring you the latest tonight on Region 8 News at Five and Six.

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT)- Everything got underway just after one Monday afternoon inside the Greene County Courthouse.

Miss Cluck sat quietly aside her attorney as counselors for both sides worked to weed down the jury pool.

Outside the courthouse we caught up with them both.

"We are very glad to finally have our day in court. Monica is ready to defend herself and prove she's not guilty of these charges," said attorney Randel Miller.

The charges stem from allegations that Cluck slept with a 17-year-old boy from her church in Marmaduke.

Cluck, an elementary school teacher at Woodrow Wilson in Paragould at the time, resigned after a video tape surfaced allegedly showing her and the boy drinking and having sexual relations.

For the allegations to be punishable the state must prove that Cluck was in an authoritative or caregiver role, a role that her attorney doesn't think can be proven.

"There are going to be some factual things that will be surprising to the jury; that this occurred when Monica was married, that the videotape of this was filmed by her husband. So, there is some sensation facts that they can throw in, but it doesn't really address the real issue in this case which is whether she was in a position of trust or authority and our position is that she was not," said Miller.

Cluck was a Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church in Marmaduke and also had worked with her mother leading the TONE group, which teaches teens to stay away from drinking.

Court adjourned at five Monday afternoon, and jurors were instructed by Judge Barbara Halsey not to talk to any of the witnesses or each other.

That's where things will pick back up Tuesday morning.

Court will reconvene at 9:00 a.m. with jury selection.

It is expected that opening statements and at least some of the witnesses will be heard by day's end.

If convicted, Cluck could serve 6 to 30 years in prison.

Region 8's Will Carter will be live on Region 8 News Midday, 5, and 6 daily as the trial progresses.  You can also see the latest right here on www.kait8.com.

Story ideas or comment?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com.