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Man accused of rape denies allegations during hearing

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By Sarah Bennett

James L. Wilkerson, 27, was arrested in May on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. According to court records, he pleaded guilty to those charges and was released in July to begin probation.

On Friday, U.S. Marshals arrested Wilkerson in Bardstown on charges of first-degree rape and theft by unlawful taking as well as probation violations.

According to a warrant, Wilkerson failed to complete Hardin County Drug Court — a requirement of his probation. In court Tuesday, Judge Kelly Mark Easton said Wilkerson was terminated from the program.
During the court appearance, Wilkerson repeatedly denied the rape allegations to the judge and requested a hearing concerning the alleged probation violation.

According to an arrest warrant, Wilkerson is accused of forcibly raping a woman Sept. 25 in Vine Grove. Police said Wilkerson used physical force, including pushing the woman and yanking her hair.

“During the assault, (the alleged victim) sustained injuries that were visible and documented during an examination,” the warrant reads.

Following the incident, Wilkerson stole a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee that was recovered the following day in another location, police said.

Wilkerson remains lodged at Hardin County Detention Center in lieu of a $105,000 cash bond.

A preliminary hearing for the rape and theft charges is set for Friday in Hardin District Court.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at 270-505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.