Jury selection began Monday for the trial of a Lawrence man accused of repeatedly molesting a girl over the course of two years, starting when she was 11.
A jury trial for James M. Fletcher, 35, of Lawrence, is scheduled Monday through Aug. 18 in Douglas County District Court, in the courtroom of Judge Peggy Kittel.
Fletcher was first charged in September 2015, and other counts were added in May 2016. He faces five counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child under 14, a felony.
Fletcher allegedly molested the girl in Douglas County over a period of time from December 2012, when the victim was 11, through January 2015, when she was 13, according to the charges.
According to a police affidavit filed in court in 2015 to show probable cause for arresting Fletcher:
Law enforcement began investigating the case in February 2015, after the girl’s mother told police that Fletcher had molested her daughter.
Fletcher’s phone contained photos of the girl in which her underwear showed, but he told police that he did not think they were sexual.
When interviewed by police, Fletcher said he “was attracted to teenage girls” and might have “a problem.” He admitted to touching the girl but denied it was inappropriate, saying “I haven’t done anything, nothing’s happened.”
The girl told investigators that for a period of years she’d had “dreams” that Fletcher fondled her as she slept, but she felt “scared” and never told anyone before.
Later in that interview, she began to cry and said, “I was always pretty sure they weren’t dreams, but I passed them off as dreams to give myself a reason to not have to tell anybody.”
Fletcher’s attorney, listed in court records as Sarah Swain, has filed numerous motions in the case, saying Fletcher’s statements to police were coerced and that his due process rights were violated, among other arguments.
The prosecuting attorney in the case is Mark Simpson.
The Journal-World’s request for Fletcher’s mugshot was denied Monday by the sheriff’s office.