Former Solon Schools band director Edward L. Kline will face three trials rather than a separate trial for each of 10 victims. His first trial will begin Jan. 10, 2022.
Kline has pleaded not guilty to 19 counts of sexual offenses. The first trial will entail four victims and the other two trials will entail three victims each.
Kline was first arraigned in Bedford Municipal Court on a single count and later in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas on indictments alleging more offenses. The alleged victims were 12 to 18 years old, and the alleged crimes took place from Aug. 1, 2003, to June 30, 2014.
Kline, 51, is married and lives in Stow. He is out of jail on $50,000 cash or surety bond.
Kline worked with students from eighth to 12th grades in Solon from 2004 until his resignation in 2018.
Judge Timothy P. McCormick ruled Aug. 30 that Kline would have 10 trials rather than one.
McCormick reconsidered his decision following a motion from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.
One trial, he said, could lead to “jury confusion in segregating the offenses for all ten alleged victims,” McCormick wrote in the Oct. 13 order. “Even with appropriate instructions, the court concludes there is a risk that the jury will conflate and confuse offenses and alleged victims.”
Kline’s lawyers, Ian Friedman and Madelyn Grant, at Friedman & Nemecek LLC of Cleveland, said in an emailed statement to the CJN that cautionary instructions to a jury are “overly idealistic.”
“We believe that the original severance order properly protected the rights of the accused while affording, without compromise, the rights of each accuser,” Friedman and Grant wrote. “While the latest decision makes our task more difficult, Mr. Kline and his defense team will not be deterred from clearing his name at trial.”