Child molesting case postponed

0
1485
Kirk Dale Lonas 

HANCOCK COUNTY — A Greenfield man facing felony child molestation charges was scheduled to go on trial next week. However, the deputy prosecutor and defense attorney requested a last minute continuance, court officials said.

Kirk Dale Lonas, 57, has been accused of a Level 1 felony count of child molesting, among other felony molest charges. Before the last-minute delay, the case against Lonas was scheduled to go before a jury starting Tuesday, Sept. 21, in Hancock County Circuit Court where Judge Scott Sirk was supposed to oversee the trial.

The trial is now set for November.

Lonas has been accused of molesting two children in Greenfield on multiple occasions at two Greenfield residences from July 2019 to August 2020. The children were younger than 16.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the children told investigators Lonas had fondled them on multiple occasions. One child said she had been inappropriately touched by Lonas more than a dozen times.

Lonas was arrested and charged with the crimes on Oct. 29, 2020. A warrant had been issued for his arrest three weeks earlier, but local authorities couldn’t find him. Lonas was eventually found in Crawford County, Missouri, before being brought back to the county to face the charges.

Lonas owns Avert Security, a security firm in Indianapolis. He has been in the Hancock County Jail since his arrest. In addition to the Level 1 felony, Lonas is also facing two Level 4 felony counts of child molestation; fondling or touching a child under 14. The most serious charge against him carries a sentence of up to 40 years in prison.

Despite the delay, prosecutor Brent Eaton said his office is ready to go to trial. Chief deputy prosecutor Aimee Herring and deputy prosecutor Jeffrey Wehmueller will present the state’s case. Lonas’ attorney is listed as Christopher Smith.

High-level felony trials have been rare over the past two years, especially since the pandemic began 18 months ago. “It’s taken a high level of professional cooperation for the courts, the clerks and everyone in the judicial system to be able to function during a time we could not have foreseen,” Eaton said early this week (before the trial was postponed) of how the local court system has responded during the pandemic. “We’re excited to get into the courtroom.”