AP NEWS

Sexual misconduct brings 12 years

April 27, 2019 GMT

A Fort Wayne man initially accused of raping three girls and having consensual sex with another in 2017 was ordered to spend 12 years in prison.

Jamar D. Banks, 20, pleaded guilty in March to four charges of sexual misconduct with a minor in three separate cases, and he was sentenced Friday in Allen Superior Court.

A plea agreement calls for Banks to spend eight years on probation after completing his sentence, and Allen Superior Court Judge David Zent ordered him to pay more than $1,500 in restitution. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss charges of rape, sexual battery and furnishing alcohol to a minor in exchange for the guilty plea.

The crimes occurred between July and December 2017 and involved similar circumstances, investigators said. Banks offered the girls : three were 14 and one was 15 : alcohol and marijuana, according to court documents.

The girls left their homes late at night to meet Banks. He pressured at least two of the girls into having sex soon after, probable cause affidavits alleged.

In one case, Banks reportedly gave alcohol to two 14-year-olds : one passed out : and sexually assaulted them. A 13-year-old girl who was there with her older friends told police she saw Banks rape them.

He told police the girls said they were in high school and denied having sex with them in an August 2017 interview with detectives but apologized in court Thursday. Banks said he’d made a mistake.

“You used the word ‘mistake,’” Zent said, who suggested the 12-year sentence was lenient. “It wasn’t a mistake, it was a crime.”

The father of one of the victims credited Allen County Deputy Prosecutor Tesa Helge with working to secure prison time for Banks.

“What has been done is irreparable,” he said. “Sexual predators are a menace to society. I’m pleased to see one is going away.”

The Journal Gazette does not identify the victims of sex crimes without their permission and is not publishing the name of the father to protect the identity of the girl.

One of the girls told the judge life since 2017 has been difficult.

“I thought it was my fault,” she said. “For several months, I blamed myself.”

Lisa Banks, Jamar Banks’ mother, said her son “made some poor decisions” and is a loving son who “enjoys being with his family so much.”

mleblanc@jg.net