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Williamsport man charged with molesting minor, other sex offenses

August 19, 2013|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Jason Howard Bartles
Jason Howard Bartles

A Williamsport man accused of sexually molesting a girl over a period of more than a year was being held on $400,000 bond after he waived a bail-review hearing Monday in Washington County District Court.

Jason Howard Bartles, 34, of Hastings Drive was charged with 29 counts of sex abuse of a minor and 30 counts of third-degree sex offenses, according to court records.

Bartles is also charged with one count of child pornography for making a visual representation of the victim engaged in sexual conduct, the court records said.

District Judge Mark D. Thomas scheduled a preliminary hearing for Bartles on Sept. 12.

The teenage girl was interviewed by Maryland State Police on May 21, 2012, and told investigators she had sexual contact with Bartles over a period of time, according to allegations in the charging documents.

The girl alleged that the first instance of sexual contact occurred in his vehicle between late October and late December 2011, and that he had sexual intercourse with her in his vehicle in the spring of 2012, the charging documents said.

When police interviewed Bartles on May 22, 2012, he denied any sexual contact with the girl, while admitting they sent text messages to each other, the documents said.

The girl later wrote a nine-page letter describing her alleged relationship with Bartles in which she described several other sexual encounters both in his vehicle and in his home, the documents said.

The girl also alleged that Bartles had her send him nude pictures and videos of herself by text message, the documents said.

She still had the cellphone, but told investigators she deleted the photos, the documents said.

The cellphone was turned over to the state police Computer Crimes Division for a forensic analysis, and “several photographs of a pornographic nature” were found on the device, the documents said.

In addition, telephone records showed “hundreds of text messages that were sent and received between the victim and suspect,” some of which indicated a picture had been sent, the documents said.

In February, police searched Bartles’ home, seizing computers and cellphones for analysis, but they yielded nothing relevant to the case, the documents said.

However, the subscriber identity module, or SIM, cards that hold much of the stored data in cellphones, were missing.

At the end of July, the investigating state police corporal consulted with the Washington County State’s Attorney’s Office, the documents said.

Charges were filed on Aug. 15, court records said.

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