dakota dunham

A two-day jury trial for a Franklin County man charged with raping and molesting a child in 2018 that was scheduled to begin this week has been postponed due to COVID-19.

According to online court documents, Dakota R. Dunham, 27, is currently incarcerated in the Farmington Correctional Center on unrelated charges. Dunham previously was a Washington resident. 

The jury trial was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, with jury selection. Closing arguments were slated for Thursday. 

The trial was postponed due to ongoing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and procedures for jury proceedings set by the Missouri Supreme Court’s Order on June 5.

A new court date for Dunham has been scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 9 a.m. at the Franklin County Courthouse where attorneys and court officials will meet to reschedule the jury trial. 

Dunham has been charged with first-degree statutory rape and first-degree child molestation after authorities say he molested a child who he knew was under 12 years old between May 1 and May 9, 2018. The victim in the case is not identified in public court documents due to the nature of the crimes and the child’s age at the time of the incident. 

Dunham also has been charged with the Class D felony of tampering or attempting to tamper with a victim in a felony prosecution. 

If Dunham is convicted of these charges, he could be sentenced to a prison term of 10 to 30 years. He also could face life imprisonment. 

Dunham, who previously pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct charges in Barry County in 2015, is a registered sex offender. 

As a resident of Franklin County, Dunham was found guilty in 2017 to charges that on Feb. 22, 2017, he was within 500 feet of a public park in Gerald after he was found loitering near the park. He was given four years’ supervised probation as a suspended execution of sentence.

Dunham’s probation was later revoked, and he was given 120 days of shock incarceration in 2017. He was then sentenced to five years’ probation.

Dunham also was found guilty of being a sex offender and living within 1,000 feet of a day care facility in July 2018, after authorities say he was living in a tent within 1,000 feet of a Washington preschool facility. 

In that case, Dunham was sentenced to five years of supervised probation and 15 days in the county jail as a suspended execution of sentencing of five years in the state prison. 

In November 2018, Dunham was found guilty of failure to register as a sex offender. 

Dunham was again given probation by the court as a suspended execution of the sentencing.