- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) - The attorney for a Columbia-area man accusing of kidnapping and raping a girl over a period of eight years has withdrawn a motion seeking to keep recorded conversations between his client and priests private.

Authorities allege that Thomas Kline, 55, abused the girl in her home, in his home and in a church between early 2006 and February of this year. She was 8 or 9 when the alleged abuse began. The kidnapping accusations result from Kline allegedly picking up the girl while she was jogging and taking her to his residence.

Kline has pleaded not guilty to 16 felony counts and is free on bond while he awaits an early February trial.

Defense attorney Timothy Rensch argued in a motion filed in August that conversations between Kline and priests in May should be private.

“A person has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent another from disclosing a confidential communication by the person to a clergyman in his professional character as a spiritual adviser,” Rensch wrote.

Prosecutor Chris White objected to the motion, saying is his response that Kline “voluntarily waived the privilege” by meeting with priests in a jail booking room with multiple signs warning that all activities there were recorded.

Rensch dropped his motion during a Tuesday hearing at which a judge granted the defense attorney’s request to send prospective jurors a questionnaire seeking information on everything from family makeup to life experiences, the American News reported (http://bit.ly/1CUVi7i ).

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com

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