BELTON — The trial for a fired Killeen police officer accused of having sexual relations with a 16-year-old female he met through a department youth outreach program begins today.
Former Killeen police officer Kirt Yarbrough is facing trial for a charge of sexual assault stemming from allegations that he had sex with a teenager he met while overseeing the Killeen Police Explorer Program, which teaches teenagers about police work.
Killeen police fired Yarbrough in January after police in Copperas Cove and Killeen charged him with sexual assault. Yarbrough did not contest his termination.
Documents related to those charges state Yarbrough met with the 16-year-old at hotels in Temple and Copperas Cove where they engaged in sexual acts.
The teenager told police in January they had a sexual relationship. Cell phone pictures and computer chat sessions reviewed by Killeen police corroborated her story, court documents stated.
On Monday, lawyers for Yarbrough and the state poured through a jury pool of 70 Bell County residents to create a jury for his trial.
Yarbrough, dressed in a black pin-stripe suit, sat quietly as attorneys quizzed the jury pool over their feelings about police officers and their objectivity when an alleged victim is a minor. Yarbrough did correct his attorney at one point when the attorney gave a wrong name for the principal of Richard Milburn Academy.
Among the many questions prosecutor Shelley Strimple asked was whether any members of the jury pool had negative interactions with police or if they had negative preconceived notions about officers. Few answered that they did.
Yarbrough’s attorney asked the pool if they could differentiate between inappropriate and illegal behavior. Later he asked if jurors would have a tougher time finding someone innocent because the victim was a child. About 10 said they would.
The trial will begin today in the 426th District Court at 9 a.m. Judge Fancy Jezek is presiding.
Contact Philip Jankowski at email@example.com or (254) 501-7553