UPDATE (Oct. 19, 2017)-- James Kent pleaded guilty to sexual battery as a lesser included offense to child molestation. He was sentenced to three years in the Henry County Jail. He received 513 days for time served and 513 days for good behavior. He will be remanded to the Henry County Sheriff for the remainder of the sentence, which is 69 days.
HENRY COUNTY, Ind.- A 35-year-old man is accused of using lies involving ghost hunting, Satan and evil spirits to lure a child to have sex with him.
James Kent is charged with child molestation. Kent’s alleged victim told investigators the abuse went on for more than a year.
“Perpetrators can be very, very manipulative,” explains Sandy Runkle-Delorme, with Prevent Child Abuse Indiana.
Henry County investigators say Kent told the girl that they were going ghost hunting, but in reality he was about to sexually abuse her.
“You’re talking about an underdeveloped brain, obviously with a 10-year-old and even a teenager. Their brains are not hardwired yet and they have a long way to go,” explains Runkle-Delorme, with Prevent Child Abuse Indiana.
The victim is now 12 years old. She allegedly told investigators if she didn’t have sex with Kent, he claimed "Satan was going to kill him and that demons would take over everything."
“It is never, ever the child’s fault,” said Runkle-Delorme with Prevent Child Abuse Indiana.
Experts say in most child abuse cases, the perpetrators are someone the victim knows and trusts.
“They are very confused about, ‘wait now I love this person. I trust this person. They are telling me to do this. They are saying these things will happen if I don’t,’” said Runkle-Delorme.
When investigators asked the girl how often this happened, she told them 23 times in a New Castle home. The victim says "she tried her hardest to stay away from him."
“We know it’s about one in ten children are sexually abused prior to their 18th birthday, so that’s a lot of children,” said Runkle-Delorme.
Court papers reveal the victim told a friend about the abuse while the two were at a local vacation bible school. The friend told a grown-up and that grown-up reported it to law enforcement.
“It’s really incredible and brave and takes a lot of courage for even an adult to come forward and report something, so for a child to come forward and report something, that is really remarkable,” said Runkle-Delorme.
The victim also told investigators Kent gave her alcohol, cigarettes and showed child porn videos.