The trial of a Casper man charged with sexually assaulting numerous women over the span of seven years, as well as sexually exploiting children, is set to begin this week after multiple postponements.
Samuel Barrett faces 10 felony charges: seven counts of first-degree sexual assault, two counts of sexual exploitation of children and one count of blackmail.
Proceedings are set to begin Tuesday, according to a district clerk.
The trial was initially postponed in January, and in February, prosecutors dismissed seven charges of second-degree sexual assault that Barrett had also faced.
In March, five days after the first Wyoming COVID-19 case was confirmed, Judge Daniel Forgey postponed the trial again, just after jury selection had been scheduled to start. The trial at that time was set to last eight days.
None of the attorneys then objected to the delay. Barrett went free on $60,000 bond. He waived his right to a speedy trial when his lawyers requested the trial be postponed.
At the time, it was expected the trial would begin when the virus became less of a health risk in Natrona County. However, nearly six months later, the virus is surging throughout the state at a record pace, and more patients died in September than in any previous month. Natrona County has added more cases in the past month than every county except Albany County — where the spike is tied to the University of Wyoming’s return.
Barrett faces accusations of having raped four women on seven different occasions. Accusers say that Barrett invited them into his home, where he demanded sex acts at gunpoint, according to court documents.
Prosecutors say Barrett recorded some of the assaults on video, the documents show, and that he forced the women to say on camera that they had consented to having sex with him.
Additionally, prosecutors allege that Barrett forced a woman to either perform or pretend to perform oral sex on an infant, which he recorded to use as blackmail, they say.
In 2009, Barrett was convicted of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. He pleaded guilty in that case as part of a deal with prosecutors, admitting to having sex with a teenage girl who babysat his children. The same woman is accusing Barrett of sexual assault in the current case.