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Trial delayed in abuse case

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PROVO — The jury trial of a Provo man accused of severely sexually and physically abusing two of his sons was suddenly postponed in the middle of jury selection Monday after a defense attorney said he was not prepared for trial.

Some 50 potential jurors gathered in Provo's 4th District Court for the selection of eight jury members and two alternates who would hear the case against Chay Huynh.

But in the middle of jury selection, Judge James Taylor cited "witness issues" as the reason the trial could not take place. He postponed the trial until July 7.

The action occurred after Huynh's attorney, Dana Facemeyer, met with the judge and prosecutors in the judge's chambers.

According to minutes from the meeting, Facemeyer said since he was new to the case he did not have the chance to adequately interview two expert witnesses.

Facemeyer was appointed by the court to mount a defense for Huynh after a former public defender canceled his contract with Utah County.

The situation left Facemeyer with just a few weeks to prepare for the trial.

Huynh, along with his wife, Shelly Huynh, is charged with six first-degree felony counts of sodomy on a child and sex abuse of a child.

The parents are also charged with three counts of child abuse-neglect, a second-degree felony, and one third-degree count of causing serious physical injury to a child.

Police say the two boys allege their parents would pull their molars out as punishment. They also claimed that they would be shut in the basement for days without food, water or access to a toilet.

One boy alleges his father took a pair of pliers to his genitals. The other claims he was forced by his mother to breast feed when he was 10.

Both boys allege they were sexually abused by their father while their mother held them down.

Past attorneys for Chay Huynh have denied the allegations and claim the two boys have been coached by foster parents to make their allegations.

"It's tough on the kids because they've spent the last couple of weeks gearing up to testify, to talk about things that they really shouldn't have to think about," said Deputy Utah County Attorney Mariane O'Bryant.

Meanwhile, Shelly Huynh remains at large with a warrant for her arrest.

Shelly Huynh was scheduled to stand trial as well this summer but failed to appear at the last scheduled hearing. Police in Weber County reported that Shelly Huynh turned up in Riverdale in April trying to pass some $80,000 in forged checks.

Police arrested Shelly Huynh, but she was later released from the Weber County Jail after authorities failed to notice a warrant for her arrest.

O'Bryant said Shelly Huynh is due to have a baby in late summer or early fall. In addition to being wanted for failing to show up for court in Provo, Shelly Huynh is also wanted for a probation violation connected to an arson case several years ago in which she allegedly burned down the family's home in an alleged insurance fraud scheme.

E-MAIL: gfattah@desnews.com