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Two statutory rape cases arise locally
May 11, 2006 12:00 am
May 4, 2006 – The Wilson County Sheriff's Department is investigating two separate and unrelated cases of statutory rape, both of which came to the attention of investigators just days ago.
The first case involves a 26-year-old male who for some months was engaged in a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female.
The relationship remained undisclosed to the teenage girl's family until one of her parents read about it in her diary and contacted authorities.
Sheriff Terry Ashe named 26-year-old Adam Lee Wade of Gallatin as the suspect in the case.
Wade, who is a volunteer firefighter in Gallatin, was brought into the sheriff's office Wednesday for questioning.
Ashe said his investigators have reason to believe Wade and the unidentified 16-year-old female met through a relative. The Lebanon Democrat does not identify the names of rape victims.
In conjunction with sheriff's detectives investigating the nature of Wade's relationship with the minor female, they announced another statutory case – one that is potentially even more serious – is advancing as well.
"We had a student in the county school system ask to speak with one of our school resource officers," Ashe said Wednesday. "She's a 14-year-old victim who gave us a written statement that she's been having an ongoing sexual relationship with a 22-year-old man."
Investigators have not yet determined how the second couple met, Ashe said. But authorities have not ruled out the possibility of the two meeting online.
Because of the age of the alleged victim, Ashe said the 22-year-old suspect could face charges of aggravated statutory rape.
Ashe would not release the name of the suspect in the second case, saying his office had yet to notify the individual who is considered a person of interest in the case.
"When we work both these cases up, we will take these cases to the Attorney General's office and either seek indictments and/or let them advise us which way they want to proceed," the sheriff said.
A grand jury is scheduled to meet Tuesday in Wilson County, and Ashe said it is possible the district attorney will present evidence in one or both of cases.
"There's a good possibility that these cases get presented early if that's what the district attorney wants," the sheriff said. "But the main thing we want to do is to make sure they are worked thoroughly and accurately.
"In all these cases, the parents are cooperating 100 percent, the school officials are cooperating 100 percent, and that makes our investigation efforts a lot easier."
Ashe said he believes both cases involved consensual relationships, but that is inconsequential to the potential levying of criminal charges on the adults.
"A word of warning: when you turn 18 years old, if you are having a sexual relationship with a minor you could have a problem," Ashe said. "It doesn't matter if it's consensual, the age separation makes it an aggravating circumstance."
Staff Writer Jared Allen can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 15 or by e-mail at email@example.com.