The bail hearing for a man charged with sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor and multiple charges of taking indecent photos without consent was denied bail under the proposed conditions of release.
Wilbur W. James Jr., 64, is facing 14 charges stemming from alleged molestation and abuse of minors whom he knew. There may be more charges forthcoming, said Assistant District Attorney Bailey Woolfstead.
“I have multiple letters to read from the (victims’ families) very much against bail,” Judge Daniel Schally said in Juneau Superior Court Friday.
Letters written to the court from the alleged victims detailed James’ predatory behavior toward underage girls and a history of offenses including assault and trespassing dating back to 1987. They argued in the strong terms against his being released on bail. James was charged in March, for alleged crimes that happened in 2018.
“(There is) a pattern of abuse of women and children,” read one of the letters. “The girls do feel they’re in danger of Wilbur James Jr. if he’s let out on bail.”
Woolfstead described a number of other victims who had come forward following the initial allegations to describe how James had assaulted them. She also talked about how Juneau Police Department officers had gotten a warrant and seized his phone, and upon correctly guessing the passcode, found indecent photos of minors taken while they were sleeping in the deleted folder.
“We do have in this state tragically high, outrageously high, criminally high abuse and violence against women and children,” Schally said.
James was present telephonically during the bail hearing. He interrupted once, saying the allegations were false and that he had been sleepwalking when the assaults had occurred, before being silenced and threatened with being held in contempt of court by Schally.
“The allegations here are extremely serious. They are several in number, and they involve more than one alleged victim,” Schally said. “There also appears to be some allegations of a history of similar behavior.”
James’ attorney, Assistant Public Defender Andrew Dunmire, asked the judge to consider releasing James on house arrest so that he could make several medical appointments and treat a number of medical issues.
“Frankly, many of those medical issues can be dealt with whether in custody or not,” Schally said.
Dunmire attempted to have the bail lowered to $1,500 and to have James released into the care of a third party. Schally denied both, citing the choice of third party as unacceptable, though he would consider similar proposal with a different individual.
“Mr. James, given the allegations here, needs to have more on the line,” Schally said, regarding the bail. It remains set at $10,000.
The next bail review hearing has not been scheduled.
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.