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Special district court judge and prosecutor appointed in Trageser case

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By Shannon Brock

The case of a Spencer County man charged with attempting to access the county’s computer system and harassing a Spencer County sheriff’s deputy appears to be headed toward a resolution with the appointment of a special judge and prosecutor.
Lawrence S. Trageser, 47, of Elmers Court, was arrested Oct. 10, 2012, and charged with unlawfully accessing the county’s computer system, a Class D felony. Trageser allegedly obtained county documents by illegally accessing the county’s computer system. Five days later, he was charged with harassment, a Class B misdemeanor.
The felony charge later was reduced to “attempt to unlawfully access a computer.”
The harassment charge was against Spencer County Sheriff’s Deputy Jonathan Bentley.
County Attorney Ruth Hollan or Assistant County Attorney Leigh Erbe typically prosecute cases in district court, but Hollan is part of a civil suit against Trageser, so she recused herself in April.
District Court Judge Linda Armstrong also recused herself saying she’d been told she was mentioned on Trageser’s blog and siting her professional relationship with the county officials who filed the civil suit.
“I thought it best that someone not connected to the county would be better,” Armstrong told The Spencer Magnet in April. “Mr. Trageser is entitled to a fair trial. Even though I think I can be unbiased, I don’t want any appearance of any issue with that.”
Judge Matthew Eckert has been appointed to the bench in the district court cases, and Rebecca Schroering, assistant county attorney in Jefferson County, has been appointed as special prosecutor.
Schroering made her first appearance in the case on Friday in district court.
A jury trial scheduled for next Tuesday in the harassment charge has been postponed to give the new prosecutor time to familiarize herself with the case.
Trageser is set to appear in court for a hearing in both district court cases on Tuesday, June 18, at 8:30 a.m.