Defense set to present its case in trial of former Trinity High teacher

Donald Switzer
Donald Switzer

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – The prosecution rested its case late Wednesday morning in the trial against a former Trinity High School teacher accused of inappropriately touching a student in his classroom. Donald Switzer is charged with harassment with physical touch and third degree sexual abuse.

A social worker with the Kentucky Child Advocacy center was the first witness on day two of Switzer's trial. She told jurors she interviewed the student about two months after the alleged incident by referral of the lead detective on the case. The social worker testified that she interviewed the student for about 30 minutes. She described him as well-spoken and articulate.

It was during that interview that the student drew a diagram of the classroom at Trinity High School where he claims Switzer repeatedly grabbed his chest in a sexual way on February 3, 2011. The diagram was used in testimony Tuesday when the student took the stand.

On Tuesday, the first day of the trial, the student testified that Switzer told him to stay after his sixth period Spanish class, went up to him and squeezed his chest. The student said he told Switzer to stop because his chest was sore from lifting weights, but Switzer did it again.

Louisville Metro Police Sergeant Jason Grissom also took the stand Wednesday morning. He was given the case involving Switzer in April 2011. Grissom told the jury he interviewed family, friends and school officials about the case. Defense attorney Robert Florio questioned Grissom about where his initial information came from. Grissom responded that the initial information came from the student's father.

Florio is arguing that the student's father, who works for the County Attorney's office, is pushing for the criminal charges against Switzer to help a civil case and that he initiated everything that was in the initial police report.

Florio also questioned why the sexual abuse charge was added months after the harassment charge. The judge said it was a charge added when the Commonwealth's Attorney got the case months after police got involved. The judge also explained to the jury the County Attorney was involved in the case, but there was a conflict of interest because of the student's father's job.

There were also questions in the courtroom Wednesday about whether Dr. Dennis Waggoner could take the stand. Waggoner is a psychologist who interviewed Switzer at the request of Trinity High School and the Archdiocese of Louisville after the incident. The defense said it used Waggoner to determine whether Switzer had tendencies toward pedophilia. The judge questioned whether that made Waggoner an expert who could testify about the incident. Ultimately, the judge ruled that Waggoner could testify only to what Switzer told him about the incident.

Prosecutors said if Waggoner was allowed to testify, he would be their last witness. Florio said Switzer likely would take the stand as his last or second to last witness.

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