Local Man Accused of Sexually Assaulting Teen Runaway

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MTT News Desk's picture
By Matt Geiger and Gary Schuetz
"Alex" Gillespie

A Middleton man who worked at a local church stands accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a male 14-year-old runaway, according to a criminal complaint filed in circuit court last week.

James A. “Alex” Gillespie, age 48, made his initial appearance in Dane County Court Thursday on charges of Sexual Assault of a Child.  He faces two counts, each of which could carry 40 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

The victim is a boy who went missing from his Beloit home in October of 2012.

Police allege Gillespie performed oral sex on the teen on multiple occasions, in Gillespie’s Century Avenue residence, when the victim was intoxicated. The first sexual encounter occurred shortly before Christmas of 2012, and the last took place shortly after the holiday, according to investigators.

The victim claimed he met Gillespie though GROWLr.com, a social media site for “bears” - gay men with traditionally masculine physical characteristics. The victim told police he lied to Gillespie about his age, saying he was 18.

The complaint indicates Gillespie, who a church official said was dismissed from his job as music director at St. Luke’s Lutheran on Feb. 26 for unrelated problems, never questioned the victim’s age.

If the case sounds familiar, that’s because it is: Gillespie’s alleged victim is the same teen authorities believe was sexually assaulted by Dennis Jenks, a Mount Horeb Police lieutenant.

The criminal complaint against Jenks indicates the victim lived with the officer on Raymond Road in Madison until contacted by Middleton detectives on February 13.

Police say it was their investigation of Gillespie that led them to Jenks, but the latter case ended up helping produce probable cause to charge the lieutenant. (Middleton Detectives notified Madison Police of the relationship between the victim and Jenks, then developed probable cause to charge Gillespie.)

The investigation of Gillespie began in December of 2012.

Jenks, 44, had a relationship with a the boy that lasted for nearly six months, including time living together in an apartment on Madison’s west side, before the victim revealed his true age to the officer, according to a criminal complaint filed Feb. 21 in Dane County Circuit Court,

Like Gillespie, Jenks was charged with the repeated sexual assault of a child for allegedly maintaining a relationship with the minor from September 2012 to February 2013. The complaint indicates at least three of the assaults are a Class C felony.

According to the complaint, both Jenks and the minor say they met on a website called Omegle.com, which allows users to make contact with strangers who have similar interests, as early as August 2012. After the minor was kicked out of his home in October, Jenks invited him to stay at his Madison apartment.

“I was kind of like hesitant, but he told me he was a cop, so I trusted him,” the victim told investigators.

The minor, who stayed with Jenks until Feb. 13, gave a false first name and said he told Jenks he was 18 years old.

“I don’t want him to look me up,” he told detectives. “He’s a cop and if I told him I was 14, he would be like, ‘Why would I wanna hang out with this little kid, you know?’”

Jenks also told detectives the boy told him, prior to meeting in person prior to October 2012, that he was 18.

“I was very adamant in making sure he was 18 years of age,” said Jenks. “And he said he was.”

Jenks attempted to confirm the boy’s identity with his Mount Horeb Police Department credentials, but he was unable to retrieve any records in Illinois and Wisconsin.  He also searched through several social media sites, including Facebook, but was unable to locate a match.

According to the criminal complaint, Jenks eventually confronted the boy about his inability to confirm his age, at which point Jenks said the boy started crying and admitted he had lied. 

Jenks has been released on a signature bond. He was also ordered to not possess any type of dangerous weapon and to not have any unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18.

The victim told a detective he loved Jenks.  The teen also told investigators he and Jenks slept in the same bed approximately four times a week, and would “spoon” with one another.

Investigators said Jenks admitted to having had sexual intercourse with the boy, about seven times per week, over the four months they lived together. The defendant told investigators his sexual interest in the victim had “started to wane,” according to the complaint.





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