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A Hardin District Court judge found probable cause in the newest allegation against a former West Point man facing 19 sex-related charges but allowed him to stand on bond posted previously.
Jimmie Sturgill, 65, was arrested Sept. 13 in Boyd County on a charge of first-degree sodomy.
In June, he was indicted on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse and 16 counts of unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited activities.
According to police, all charges, including the newest allegation of sodomy, occurred prior to July 2011 and involve minors, several of whom were foster children living in Sturgill’s home.
On Monday, Sturgill appeared before Judge Kim Shumate for a preliminary hearing. West Point Police Officer Sam Ennis testified as a witness for the commonwealth.
Since he started investigating Sturgill more than a year ago, Ennis said he has been in contact with every foster child who lived in the defendant’s home.
On July 23, Ennis was contacted by the newest alleged victim’s father, who reported his daughter claimed she was sexually assaulted by her former foster father, he said. Five days later the alleged victim and her parents provided the officer with a journal that detailed the alleged incident.
According to the teen, who was less than 16 years old at the time of the offense, Sturgill forced her to perform sexual acts on or around May 6, 2010, in a vehicle, the officer said.
Asked if the encounter was consensual, Ennis said, “She tried to resist and tried to escape and screamed but was unable to get away.”
When asked why the alleged victim did not come forward until July 23, the officer said she was “scared and embarrassed” and did not want to be separated from her siblings, who also lived with Sturgill at the time.
Sturgill’s attorney, Steve Mirkin, pointed out the teen’s sister also is an alleged victim of the defendant’s. Both siblings originally were interviewed by social workers and police more than a year ago, at which time the teen did not allege sexual contact with Sturgill.
According to Ennis, the teen was interviewed by officials about three or four times before coming forward with allegations of sodomy.
“She said she blacked it out,” the officer said.
He added, “It’s common for children not to want to talk about these things.”
When he originally was arrested in July 2011, Sturgill allegedly admitted to sending sexually charged Facebook messages to the alleged victim’s sister but denied having any sexual contact with the foster children, Ennis said.
Since his initial arrest last June, Sturgill has been out on a partially secured bond and has been in full compliance, Mirkin said.
However, with this latest arrest, the defendant was jailed in lieu of a $50,000 cash bond, which later was reduced to 10 percent after arraignment.
Anticipating the newest charge would be consolidated with Sturgill’s circuit court case, Mirkin requested Sturgill be allowed to stand on his previously posted bond.
“This is a guy who for over a year has been in full compliance,” he said.
Though she found probable cause in the sodomy charge, Shumate said she would allow Sturgill to stand on bond since he has not committed any new offenses or violated conditions in the last year.
The decision means he is eligible for release from the Hardin County Detention Center.
“The allegations will go forward and Mr. Sturgill will have to answer to them,” the judge said.
Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.