By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Trucking co. owner pleads not guilty to sex assault of teen
Placeholder Image

DARLINGTON - The owner of a Lafayette County trucking company pleaded not guilty Wednesday, Aug. 15, to a charge that he sexually assaulted an 18-year-old Dodgeville girl he hired to clean his offices.

James Allen Corley, 53, Darlington, was initially charged in July with a Class A misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree sexual assault and a Class H felony charge of soliciting prostitution. The charges stem from an incident in April.

During the preliminary hearing in Lafayette County Circuit Court, Judge Thomas Vale rejected a request from Corley's attorney to drop both charges but agreed to dismiss the solicitation charge on a lack of evidence.

According to a police report filed with the criminal complaint:

The teen, then a senior in high school, responded to an ad Corley posted seeking someone to clean the offices of his company, Corley Trucking, LLC.

She was finishing her first shift of work April 13 when Corley asked her if she wanted to earn $50 more, without specifying what it was he wanted done. She agreed, and he showed her into an office with a bed. He invited her onto the bed with him, then kissed her and put his hand down her pants, offering her $100 to stay. At that point, she left.

Robert Duxstad, Corley's attorney, argued in court the situation was one of "mutual agreement."

District attorney Charlotte Doherty countered that consent was not explicitly given and that "all facts and circumstances" must be considered in determining consent, including the 35-year age difference and the inherent discrepancy in power between an employer and employee.

"She was young. She was naive. She was easily manipulated," Doherty said.

Duxstad interrupted to object, calling Doherty's assertions "political catchphrases." He said the teen had a boyfriend in high school and therefore was not naive about sex. He added that "many girls" are sexually active by the age of 13 or 14.

Doherty shot back, "Just because she had a boyfriend in high school does not mean she was sexually active. I would not say 'many' 13- to 14-year-old girls are sexually active."

Vale sided with Doherty that there were sufficient facts presented to justify the misdemeanor charge.

"There was not a free agreement. There is a large age difference," he said. "We can argue what 'naive' means, but certainly there was an unequal (balance of) power."

Corley waived his right to a speedy trial. He has a scheduling conference Sept. 19.