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Trial begins in Canton for alleged child molester

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CANTON — Attorneys selected four jurors Tuesday in St. Lawrence County Court in the trial of a Canton man accused of sexually abusing two girls over an eight-year period.

Richard W. Thornton, 37, is charged with felony predatory sexual assault against a child, felony first- and second-degree course of sexual conduct against a child and two counts of misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child.

He is accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl from summer 2008 to summer 2010, and of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl from summer 2002 to summer 2009.

“I’m just waiting on the evidence to be presented by the district attorney’s office,” said Mary E. Rain, Thornton’s attorney.

Ms. Rain said she expects prosecutors to call both alleged victims, a nurse, an expert and a few other family members to testify.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Amanda N. Nissen is prosecuting the case.

Opening statements could be made this afternoon.

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