Judge Dean Dankelson was forced to declare a mistrial Monday when a 61-year-old defendant in a child sexual abuse case experienced a medical emergency just before the start of jury selection proceedings.

Daniel F. Franklin, of Carthage, was scheduled to go to trial in Jasper County Circuit Court on 10 felony counts involving three child victims. The trial, which was being held in the old Joplin Public Library to gain enough space to maintain the social distancing required by state court protocol during the COVID-19 pandemic, had to be scuttled when the defendant became ill and had to be taken to a hospital.

The rural Joplin man is facing three counts of statutory sodomy, three counts of statutory rape, two counts of child molestation, and single counts of enticement of a child and unlawful use of a weapon.

Franklin waived a preliminary hearing in 2017 on the child molestation and enticement counts involving two girls, who were 11 and 13 years old at the time of the offenses. Seven more counts were filed on him in 2018 when a third girl disclosed that he had forced sexual intercourse and acts of sodomy on her when she was 12 or 13 years old.

The case was remanded back to the associate court level and a second preliminary hearing held in March 2019 at which two of the girls testified.

The girl whose disclosures brought seven more counts against the defendant testified that she first met Franklin when she accompanied the other two girls.

She testified that he would get them to play strip poker with him, offering them $25 to play and having them remove articles of clothing when they lost a hand.

The girl testified that on one of the three times that Franklin raped her, he put a pocketknife to her side and suggested that it would be useless for her to tell anyone about the sexual abuse because no one would believe her.

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Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe.