Casper Man Waives Prelim; Accused of Raping 13-Year-Old in 2015
A man charged with the 2015 sexual assault of a girl who was then 13 years old has waived his preliminary hearing and will see his case transferred to district court.
James C. Sanders, 28, faces two counts of first-degree sexual assault, two counts of second-degree sexual assault and one count of third-degree sexual assault. He could face 10-155 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Dylan Rosalez, the public defender representing Sanders, told Natrona County Circuit Court Judge Steven Brown that Sanders did not wish to have a preliminary hearing in either of two cases that had been set for Thursday morning.
Assistant District Attorney Mike Schafer, during Sanders's initial court appearance last week, said Sanders also faces three charges of child abuse.
A preliminary hearing is held to determine in cases involving felony charges. Its purpose is to determine if probable cause exists to see the case bound over to district court, or if any charges should be dismissed.
The affidavit filed in the sexual assault case says an officer of the Mills Police Department was assigned to investigate a reported sex offense on the night of April 20, 2015.
The alleged victim, who was 13 years old at the time, later told a forensic interviewer that she had been at home watching television with her sisters while her mother was not home. The victim heard a knock on the front door, and one of her sisters opened the door. Sanders allegedly pushed his way into the house and spoke to another girl for a moment.
The alleged victim and another girl went into the bathroom. Sanders then reportedly entered the bathroom, forced the other girl out, and forced the victim to perform oral sex on him.
According to the affidavit, the victim said that Sanders "pulled down my pants, pulled down his, put me on the bathroom sink and raped me." Sanders also allegedly covered the victim's mouth with his hand, and later left through the back door of the home.
Sanders allegedly told the victim that he would kill her if she told anyone about the incident.
The victim's mother arrived home at about 8:30 p.m. as the victim exited the bathroom. She told her mother that "James came into the house and had sex with me, he had me pinned and I didn't want to."
The mother told police that Sanders was a friend of a friend and that she didn't know him well.
A medical examination of the victim was conducted at Wyoming Medical Center. Biological evidence was collected and sent to the Wyoming State Crime Lab.
An examination of that biological evidence reportedly showed the presence of seminal fluid. DNA swabs were taken from both Sanders and his twin brother.
The lab report reportedly states that DNA belonging to the victim, as well as Sanders or his twin brother, was found in the biological evidence collected from the victim.
During a police interview, Sanders's twin brother said he knows the victim and her family well because his wife is a longtime family friend. The brother said he had been at his home in Casper during the alleged sexual assault, and later received a phone call from the victim's sister about the assault.
Sanders's brother said he then drove to Mills, where the alleged victim said she had been raped.
According to the affidavit, Sanders was involved in two unrelated incidents in Mills on April 20, 2015 -- the same night that the sexual assault had occurred. An officer had taken a report of property damage and a Family Violence Protection Act protection order violation.
Natrona County Circuit Court Judge Brian Christensen set Sanders's bond at $100,000 cash only during last week's initial appearance.
Wyoming law prohibits the release of a jail booking photo of Sanders until he is arraigned in district court.