St. Thomas man, 27, charged with rape after teen's mother finds messages on Facebook
Published: October 26, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - A 27-year-old man was accused of raping a 17-year-old girl after the girl's mother found an exchange of messages between the man and the girl on Facebook.
Jelani Leatham, who works as a lifeguard, was arrested Wednesday and charged with second-degree rape. He was advised of rights in V.I. Superior Court on Friday before Magistrate Henry Carr.
Leatham's bail was set at $50,000, though he can secure his pretrial release if he can post a $5,000 bond. His release conditions included not making any direct or indirect contact with the girl, including via social media.
The girl's mother contacted police Oct. 14 when she found messages between her daughter and Leatham, according to court documents. Police met with the girl's mother on Oct. 16 and took a statement from her.
The girl's mother said that she had found messages from Leatham stating that he had "allowed the minor child to perform oral sex on him," according to the probable cause fact sheet filed by V.I. Police Detective Sehkera Tyson.
In the messages, Leatham also asked the girl if she would "have a baby for him when she gets older," according to the probable cause fact sheet.
When the police questioned the girl, she said that she met Leatham through a friend and that she spoke with him in February 2013, during which time she had sex with Leatham twice, once in the back of his car across from Schneider Hospital and a second time at her home when she was off from school and her mother was at work.
The girl continued talking to Leatham through August, when her mother was on her laptop and Leatham sent a message to the girl, according to Tyson's report.
The second time they had sex, the girl told Leatham how old she was, according to the probable cause fact sheet.
Leatham admitted having sex with the girl, knowing that she was younger than 18 and knowing that she was enrolled in a public high school, according to Tyson.
When asked why he still had sex with her, he told police, "I don't know. I was stupid," according to the probable cause fact sheet.
Leatham's arraignment is set for Nov. 7 in Superior Court.
- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email email@example.com.