With both state and defense attorneys already pushing for a bench trial, the victim in the case against Kenneth “Val” Geissler is also now asking to avoid a jury trial.
At a Thursday hearing via teleconference, victim advocate Darlene Reed told District Court Judge Bill Simpson that she had spoken with the victim Dec. 30 and the victim said she preferred a bench trial, which would spare her from having to testify in court.
“She does not want to have to testify,” Reed said. “She wants to have the case resolved without having to testify.”
Simpson requested written confirmation of that request from Reed or the victim, after which he said he’d be able to move forward on a decision for the trial format. He said the previous trial date had been vacated due to COVID-19 concerns.
In a bench trial, the presiding judge, rather than a jury, determines whether the defendant is guilty or not.
Geissler is facing charges for soliciting prostitution and unlawful contact without bodily injury to a female minor. The felony charges he is facing carry up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine. Geissler is also pleading not guilty to accusations of forcibly kissing the female minor, a misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail and $750.
The 80-year-old Cody man is accused of attempting to coerce a minor into prostitution in exchange for payments on a vehicle. The minor said she started receiving letters after she was loaned a $4,000 car from Geissler in July 2018, with $200 monthly payments. She says he attempted to negotiate sex with her in exchange for payments on the vehicle. The affidavit went on to say Geissler hand-delivered the letters to the minor and promised her millions of dollars in his will if she became a prostitute.