JASPER, AL (WBRC) - Carbon Hill Mayor James Richardson is facing several sex crime charges. He was arrested and taken to the Walker County Jail, in handcuffs, by agents from the Alabama Attorney General's office Thursday evening.
According to Walker County jail records, Richardson was booked on a total of 11 charges. Those charges are: four counts of sexual abuse in the first degree, four counts of custodial sexual misconduct, two counts of harassment and one count of soliciting a prostitute.
Richardson's bond is $250,000.
According to a news release we received Friday from the Attorney General's Office, Richardson subjected four separate victims to sexual contact by forcible compulsion. Also, an indictment states that he engaged in sexual conduct with some of the victims while they were in the custody of the Carbon Hill City Jail.
Mayor Richardson is charged with soliciting prostitution from one of these four victims. The harassment counts involve acts against two different female victims.
FOX6 News reporter Christy Hutchings asked the mayor as he was being lead into the jail if the charges of sexual misconduct were true. Richardson replied, "No ma'am."
Hutchings also asked if Richardson had anything to say about the charges. He replied, "Not at this time."
FOX6 News is working to get more details on what lead to Richardson's arrest.
There's also a civil lawsuit filed against Richardson by an inmate in the Carbon Hill Jail. You can read the lawsuit here: http://www.myfoxal.com/story/23483126/civil-lawsuit-filed-against-carbon-hill-mayor.
Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair and Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange released this joint statement on the case:
"Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair and Attorney General Luther Strange announced the arrest last night of Carbon Hill Mayor James "PeeWee" Richardson on charges of sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, harassment and soliciting prostitution. Richardson, 61, was taken into custody by Special Agents of the Attorney General's Office and taken to the Walker County Jail.
A joint investigation by the Walker County District Attorney's Office and the Attorney General's Office resulted in evidence that was presented to a Walker County grand jury. The grand jury returned an indictment* yesterday that charges Richardson with four counts of first-degree sexual abuse, four counts of custodial sexual misconduct, two counts of harassment and one count of soliciting prostitution.
Specifically, the indictment charges that Richardson subjected four separate victims to sexual contact by forcible compulsion and also that he engaged in sexual conduct with some of the victims while they were in the custody of the Carbon Hill City Jail. Additionally, Richardson is charged with soliciting prostitution from one of these four victims. The harassment counts involve acts against two different female victims.
No further information about the investigation or about Richardson's alleged crimes other than that stated in the indictment may be released at this time.
If convicted, Richardson faces a maximum penalty of one to ten years for each count of first-degree sexual abuse and for each count of custodial sexual misconduct, both of which are class C felonies. Soliciting prostitution is a class A misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to one year imprisonment, and harassment is a class C misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to three months imprisonment.
Furthermore, Section 36-9-2 of the Code of Alabama states that when an officeholder is convicted of a felony, the office is vacated from the time of conviction."
Check back here on MyFoxAL.com for more information on this developing story.