Judge Approves Request for Bench Trial in Johnston Sex Assault Case

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Morgan Hough and Ritter Stahlbaum appear in court in Polk County for hearing, Feb. 7, 2019. (WHO-HD)

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POLK COUNTY, Iowa — Two Johnston teens accused of sexually assaulting a classmate in 2017 will not stand trial in front of a jury.

Morgan Hough and Ritter Stahlbaum are each charged with sexual abuse, robbery, and assault for allegedly sexually abusing a male classmate at Hough’s home. Some of the alleged abuse was captured in Snapchat videos.

Thursday, Stahlhbaum and Hough were back in court, requesting a bench trial in front of a judge. The judge approved that request and a trial date for April 22nd is scheduled.

Two other teens, Kaden Dishman and Noah Lamar, have already pleaded guilty to lesser offenses related to the assault.

All four teens as well as their parents, are named as defendants in a civil lawsuit filed by the victim’s father. The civil trial is scheduled to begin November 4th.

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