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Ohatchee man's rape, sodomy case sent to Calhoun County grand jury

A judge on Friday sent an Ohatchee man’s sex abuse charges to a Calhoun County grand jury after a preliminary hearing that afternoon.

Calhoun County District Judge Randy Moeller heard testimony from Calhoun-Cleburne Major Crimes Unit investigator Jay Harrington before he determined prosecutors had probable cause to prosecute the 37-year-old man.

Harrington said on the witness stand that a 14-year-old girl’s mother reported her boyfriend was sexually abusing the girl in March. 

Harrington said the Calhoun Cleburne Children’s Advocacy Center made two or three appointments to speak with the girl, but she never came. It wasn’t until she was subpoenaed there, Harrington said, that the girl’s grandmother brought her.

Harrington, who was present when the girl was interviewed, said the abuse happened numerous times between October and March at several locations throughout northwest Calhoun County.

Harrington said the victim told staff at the Children’s Advocacy Center the first incident happened when the man got her high on methamphetamine, drove her to a bridge on U.S. 431 in Alexandria, sodomized her and raped her.

Another time, the child told interviewers, she and the man were in his father’s camper in Ohatchee when he raped her. The child told interviewers another incident occurred when he drove her to another bridge in Ohatchee and sodomized her, even though she cried and told him to stop.

The child reported that the man would often send her mom to the store so she and the man could be alone together and that he was “obsessed” with her and wanted to marry her.

Harrington said the child’s mother told police she saw the man get into the girl’s bed with her one night and claim they were “cuddling,” before she caused a disturbance, prompting the girl’s grandmother to call authorities.

After the hearing, the man requested that Moeller dismiss a drug possession charge against him and said it was wrong that he was being prosecuted for the sex crimes.

“They’re charging me for nothing because someone’s mad,” he said.

A bailiff escorted the man out of the courtroom after he shouted profanity.

The man’s attorney, Susan Henderson, then asked Moeller to reduce the man’s bonds, which Moeller denied.

Henderson said after the hearing she maintains her client’s innocence.

“I believe that justice will be served in due time,” Henderson said. “I have confidence that my client would not perpetrate this crime.”

The Star typically withholds the names of those charged with sex crimes until they are convicted or plead guilty, as the stigma that can accompany such charges can linger even after the charges are dropped or the suspect is exonerated. The Star does not publish the names of victims of sex crimes.

The man remained Friday in the Calhoun County Jail with bond set at $97,500.

First-degree rape and first-degree sodomy are both Class A felonies. If convicted, the man could be sentenced to life in prison and owe up to a $60,000 fine.

Contact Staff Writer Mia Kortright at 256-235-3563.

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