Psychologist Says Edgar Children Would be Traumatized Facing Parents in Court

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A court-appointed psychologist says the former adoptive children of Christy and Neil Edgar would suffer “significant trauma” if they have to face their parents in an upcoming murder trial.

Psychologist Jeffrey Montolio interviewed the children, who allegedly were abused by the Edgars and the family’s baby sitter, Chasity Boyd. Both children — a boy and a girl — are under 13 years old.

Another child, 9-year-old Brian Edgar, died at the family’s Overland Park home in December after he was bound with duct tape as punishment for stealing food.

A judge severed the Edgars’ parental rights to the two surviving children after Brian’s death. The Edgars and Boyd are scheduled for trial starting Sept. 15 in Johnson County District Court on charges of first-degree felony murder.

Earlier this month, Judge John Bennett ruled that the prosecution could not introduce allegations that Neil Edgar used a stun gun to discipline two children. Bennett said those allegations were too prejudicial and not similar enough to the abuse that led to Brian’s death.

Bennett also ruled earlier that prosecutors could not offer testimony about money paid to the Edgars to care for foster and adoptive children.

Montolio’s report — which Bennett ordered sealed — was discussed Tuesday at a pretrial hearing. The psychologist testified that there would be additional trauma if the children had to face the Edgars in open court.

District Attorney Paul Morrison wants the children to testify via closed-circuit television. That would give defense attorneys a chance to cross-examine them while sparing the children from having to see the Edgars face to face, Morrison said.

John Jenab, one of Boyd’s lawyers, argued that Montolio’s report did not pertain to Boyd and that she should be allowed a separate trial to ensure her constitutional right to confront witnesses against her.

The judge will issue a ruling later. The next pretrial hearing is scheduled Sept. 3.

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Associated Press, USA
Aug. 27, 2003

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday August 28, 2003.
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