Sex Abuse Case Begins

FAIRBANKS, AK -- Gross sexual abuse of two young girls, or a rush to judgment by school officials, state troopers and prosecutors?

Yesterday,  a 12-member jury panel began hearing opening arguments and witness testimony in State of Alaska vs Arthur Augustine.

The 56-year-old man is charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minior, as well as two counts of second-degree child sexual abuse.

Opening arguments began yesterday morning in Fairbanks Superior Court.

Augustine faces a possible life prison term if convicted in the case.

According to Alaska State Troopers, their investigation began when they received a report from the State Office of Children's Services that says Augustine abused young girls repeatedly while they visited with him on weekends.

But during trial testimony, defense attorney Franklin Spaulding disagreed with those allegations.

Arthur Augustine is a convicted sex offender, having been convicted of sexual abuse of a minor back in the early 1980s.

Trial continues today in this most recent case, and is expected to go into next week.