By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Hearing set for man in sexual assault
Placeholder Image
DARLINGTON - A 20-year-old Minnesota man is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 17 after he enters a plea to allegations of repeatedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old Belmont girl he met over the Internet.

Corey James Fordham, Spicer, Minn., did not appear in Lafayette County Circuit Court Wednesday but was represented by his attorney Philip Brehm. Fordham is charged with one Class E felony count of burglary and Class C felony counts of repeated sexual assault of a child, child sexual exploitation and use of a computer to facilitate a sex crime.

Defense and prosecution were not prepared to move on to a plea agreement Wednesday because Brehm had just been appointed counsel in September due to Fordham's prior attorney taking maternity leave. A plea hearing was rescheduled for Dec. 17.

Police reports indicate Fordham met the then-14-year-old victim over Skype, an application that allows video chats over the Internet, in December 2013. Fordham told police he had kept in almost constant contact with the victim because he was unemployed. Fordham admitted to police that he was aware the victim was underage but told the responding officer that it was "no big deal."

Court records allege Fordham and the victim would pose nude for each other via Skype calls and send nude photographs via text message. Eventually Fordham asked the victim to marry him, which she agreed to. Fordham told police that he was going to abscond with the victim to "McCallanville" in Texas, a fictional location where Fordham said he would begin his work as a drug dealer and hit man for a Mexican cartel.

After he was arrested, Fordham was seen by two doctors for a competency diagnosis to determine if he suffers from a mental illness. Fordham's attorney Brehm said due to the confidential nature of the diagnosis, he could not say whether or not Fordham suffers from mental illness.

"I'm relatively new to the case and trying to get up to speed on this, but that information is confidential," Brehm said.

Court records allege Fordham left Minnesota in his mother's stolen vehicle on Feb. 2 and arrived in the early morning hours at the victim's parents' home in Belmont. He allegedly climbed to second story of the residence through a window left open by the victim, who had not told her parents about her communication with Fordham. Fordham proceeded to stay in the victim's room without alerting her parents for two days. Fordham alleged he and the victim had consensual sex several times during that time period.

Fordham told police that the victim's mother came into the room on Feb. 4 and saw Fordham lying between a wall and the bed. The woman went downstairs, grabbed a mop handle, and came back and hit Fordham several times. Fordham alleged the woman also hit the victim several times. Law enforcement arrived soon after and arrested Fordham.

If convicted for the maximum penalty on all charges, Fordham could face up to 135 years imprisonment or $350,000 in fines or both.