Elizabeth Haway

Mercer County Circuit Court Judge William Sadler agreed to a motion from Assistant Prosecutor Paul Cassell to move the trial for Elizabeth Haway from November to January. Haway has been indicted on charges including first-degree sexual assault, first-degree sexual abuse, sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person of trust, incest, and cruelty to animals. 

PRINCETON — The trial of a Princeton woman facing sex abuse charges has been moved to Jan. 21, 2020.

During a pre-trial hearing Monday morning for Elizabeth Haway, Mercer County Circuit Court Judge William Sadler agreed to a motion from Assistant Prosecutor Paul Cassell to move the trial from November to January.

Cassell said the reason for the request was because the investigator in the case would not be available during the original trial date.

“The trial will still be in this (circuit court) term,” he said.

Defense attorney Joe Harvey agreed to the new date. A pre-trial hearing was set for Dec. 23,

Haway 42, was indicted in June on charges including first-degree sexual assault, first-degree sexual abuse, sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person of trust, incest, and cruelty to animals.

Detective-Sgt. Steve Sommers, with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, said in an earlier story that the investigation began when a cyber tip was received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children involving the distribution of child pornography through Facebook Messenger.

In a criminal complaint, Sommers said he reviewed the video file and it showed an adult male engaging in a sexual act with a prepubescent female child.

Sommers also found graphic messages between Haway and another Facebook user, according to the complaint. He then obtained and served a search warrant on Facebook, compelling them to disclose Facebook records for Haway.

“As I searched her Facebook records further, I found two video files that were approximately 3 minutes and 21 seconds (each) in length that had been sent to another Facebook user,” Sommers stated in the complaint. After viewing the video file that included audio, he saw that it showed an adult female with the prepubescent female engaging in sexual acts.

“I estimated the age of the child to be between 5 and 6 years of age,” Sommers stated. “I also observed that the bathtub had distinct cracking of the molding at the wall and bathtub and that the adult female had a tattoo on her finger of a smiley face (two dots and a line).”

Sommers said he also found a third video “involving the adult male and same child,” which also showed a distinctive red and white shower curtain.

The video “depicted an at-risk child victim,” Sommers stated in the complaint.

Sommers obtained a search warrant for Haway’s residence and executed it with the assistance of Lt. J.J. Ruble, Deputy D.A. Calloway, Deputy T.A. Lacy, and Deputy N. Mason.

Haway was located at the residence and taken into custody.

While at the residence, Sommers located the red and white shower curtain, and an inspection of the bathroom revealed “similar characteristics” to what was shown in the video, the complaint stated.

Haway was arrested and transported to the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department.

“During processing, I observed that the accused had tattoos on a finger on the left and right hand of a smiley face (two dots and a line),” Sommers stated.

Haway remains incarcerated at Southern Regional Jail on a $100,000 cash bond as well as a $200,000 surety/cash bond.

Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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