THORNTON, W.Va. — A Taylor County man has been charged after deputies said they found evidence that he had a sexual relationship with a juvenile in Preston County.
On Sept. 9, deputies with the Preston County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call of a sexual assault at a residence in the Thornton area, according to a criminal complaint.
When deputies arrived, they made contact with a 15-year-old female and a woman who told deputies that the juvenile had been having “a sexual relationship” with James Bauer, 44, of Grafton, deputies said.
Deputies spoke with the juvenile who told them that Bauer and she “began a platonic friendship” in January, at which point Bauer had given her a cell phone “with instructions that it was to be kept secret from her family,” according to the complaint.
On the phone, deputies said they “found multiple images of a males[sic] genitalia” which could be identified as belonging to Bauer due to “both tattoos and images of his face.”
The juvenile told deputies that “the friendship grew to a physical sexual relationship on June 2020,” and that Bauer had sexual intercourse with her on three separate occasions between the months of June and September, according to the complaint.
When another juvenile learned of Bauer and the girl’s relationship, Bauer attempted to bribe said juvenile with “a new computer” for keeping quiet about the relationship, deputies said.
Bauer has been charged with third degree sexual assault. He is being held in Tygart Valley Regional Jail.