A Southern Indiana incest arrest has stunned a community. Jessie Grimes, 33, was arrested and charged with more than 40 criminal counts, including dissemination of matter harmful to minors, incest, and sexual misconduct. According to reports, the Palmyra resident is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old family member and having an inappropriate relationship with a 10-year-old family member.
As reported by News and Tribune, the abuse was reported to the County Department of Family and Children by a friend of the 14-year-old victim. In a subsequent interview with police, the teen confirmed the abuse began in August 2015.
The victim, who was not named, said the abuse started when Jessie Grimes showed her pornographic films “to educate her” about sex. Beginning in September 2015, Grimes reportedly had sexual intercourse with the teen “once or twice a week.”
Authorities said the victim provided numerous disturbing details about the sexual encounters, including the alleged abuser’s affinity for lingerie.
The victim’s account was confirmed by a 10-year-old female relative, who said the teen would often spend time in Grimes’ bedroom with the door closed. The younger child also witnessed text messages between Grimes and teen, which were reportedly “sexual in nature.”
The 10-year-old girl also revealed Jessie Grimes talked to her about sex and showed her pornographic films.
Police said 33-year-old man was arrested & charged with 20 counts each of incest & sexual misconduct w/ a minor. https://t.co/JpvHnaRwwT
— WTNH News 8 (@WTNH) February 15, 2016
After interviewing both girls, authorities arrested Grimes and charged him with more than 40 criminal counts, including incest with a victim under the age of 16 and sexual misconduct with a minor.
During his initial hearing, Jessie Grimes pleaded not guilty and reported that he would be hiring private counsel. According to court records, a final pretrial conference is scheduled for May 2, and a jury trial is tentatively scheduled for May 17.
The court also issued a no-contact order, which prohibits Grimes from having contact with any anyone under the age of 18, including both alleged victims.
The defendant remains incarcerated in the Harrison County Jail, with bond set at $200,000.
The Southern Indiana incest arrest stunned the entire community. However, Indiana has strict laws concerning incest involving minors. In cases where the victim is under the age of 16, the crime is considered a level 4 felony, which carries a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Jessie Grimes is facing more than 40 criminal charges, a majority of which are level 4 felonies. He is facing between six months and 12 years in prison on each count.
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) February 10, 2016
In the USA, all 50 states have laws prohibiting incest to some degree. In many states, the laws are only applied if one of the parties is a minor. However, others prohibit and criminally prosecute incest cases — even if both parties are consenting adults.
In December 2010, David Epstein, 46, was arrested and charged with felony incest. The New York Daily News reports the Columbia University Professor was accused of having a sexual relationship with his 24-year-old daughter. Although the relationship reportedly began after the daughter turned 18 and was consensual, Epstein was facing up to four years in prison.
In 2015, Chalena Moody, 25, and Eric Lee Gates, 49, were arrested and charged with felony incest in Eugene, Oregon. Although the relationship between father and daughter was reportedly consensual and the couple had two children, they were each sentenced to 10 days in jail. ABC13 reports they were also prohibited from contacting each other per the terms of their probation agreements.
Although laws preventing consensual adults from entering into a sexual relationship remain controversial, the Southern Indiana incest arrest clearly involved a minor. By law, minors simply do not have the emotional and mental capacity to consent to a sexual relationship. If he is found guilty on all charges and given the maximum sentence, Jessie Grimes could spend the rest of his life in prison.
[Mugshot Image via News and Tribune]