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Fire chief trial ruling put off


The chief of the San Andreas Fire Protection District must wait three more weeks before finding out if he will stand trial on charges of raping and molesting a woman several years ago.

Charges against Erie Donald Young Sr. surfaced Aug. 29, 2002, when a San Joaquin County woman, now 32, found a bomb in her mailbox. During the ensuing investigation, she told authorities Young had molested her between the ages of 7 to 18, and raped her after she turned 13.

At what was to be a preliminary hearing yesterday, Alpine County Judge David DeVore asked Young's defense attorney, Brian Chavez-Ochoa, if he would mind postponing the hearing until later in the day.

Chavez-Ochoa said he was busy, so DeVore rescheduled the hearing for November.

But next week, DeVore said, he will issue a tentative ruling on whether Young will go to trial at all in Calaveras County, because there is a question of where and when the alleged incidents occurred.

The tentative ruling could change at the November hearing, depending on what the attorneys have to say, Chavez-Ochoa said.

Young's preliminary hearing last week was cut short when Calaveras County Superior Court Judge Douglas Mewhinney took himself off the case, saying he is friends with Young.

Chavez-Ochoa has filed a motion to have the case dismissed. He claims no violations happened in Calaveras County, and even if they had, the statute of limitations would have expired long ago.

There has been discussion on whether the charges would be dropped because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that allows older cases to be heard if certain time limits have not expired.

Because of the recent ruling, the Calaveras County District Attorney's Office could only charge Young with two incidents that allegedly happened in Calaveras County. The other incidents allegedly took place in San Joaquin County.

Young was arrested at his home on the 400 block of Pope Street in late August. The same day, he posted $50,000 bail and was released.

He remains on the job as chief of his fire district.

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