North Carolina man enters into plea agreement in sex abuse case

August 27, 2010

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A North Carolina man could avoid additional jail time as part of a plea agreement he signed to resolve allegations of sexual abuse involving a 9-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl in January 2010, according to Berkeley County Circuit Court records.

James E.B. Michael, 32, has agreed to enter a guilty plea to one felony count of first-degree sexual abuse and one misdemeanor count of third-degree sexual abuse, according to the plea agreement filed in Berkeley County Circuit Clerk Virginia M. Sine's office.

If 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III agrees to the agreement, a five- to 25-year prison sentence and a 90-day maximum jail sentence would be suspended, and Michael would be placed on five years of probation, according to court records.

A plea and sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 18.

Two counts of first-degree sexual abuse contained in a four-count indictment returned by a grand jury in May also would be dismissed, but Michael would have to register as a sex offender for life, according to court records.


The boy told police he woke up early on Jan. 1, 2010, to find Michael trying to kiss him, police said.

The girl told police that same night Michael also tried to kiss her after wrapping an arm around her, according to court records.

Michael told police he was out drinking at a bar earlier that night and didn't remember anything after being at the establishment, according to court records.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kimberly Crockett said this week that evidence of Michael's intoxication when the alleged sexual contact occurred affected the state's prosecution of the case.

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