Wednesday, June 25, 2008

12-year-old alleges sex crimes by uncle

Suspect charged with 2 counts of lewd conduct

Express Staff Writer

Blake Lee Walton

A 47-year-old Blaine County man has been charged with two counts of lewd conduct with a minor child under 16 for alleged sexual involvement with his 12-year-old niece.

Blake Lee Walton was arraigned on the charges Monday in Blaine County 5th District Court. He pleaded not guilty and a four-day trial was scheduled to begin on Sept. 9.

A criminal complaint filed against the defendant alleges that Walton engaged in "genital to genital contact" with the girl on one occasion and in "oral to genital contact" on another. The complaint alleges that the acts occurred sometime in 2007 between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1.

Court records list a Hailey post office box for Walton but the records allege that the sex acts occurred while Walton lived with the girl's family at either The Meadows trailer park south of Ketchum or later in Picabo after the family moved there.

Walton remained incarcerated Tuesday in the Blaine County Jail on $100,000 bond. His district court arraignment on Monday followed his arrest on May 20 by the Blaine County Sheriff's Office and a preliminary hearing on June 3 in Blaine County Magistrate Court.

Information on the case was not previously released to the news media and the Idaho Mountain Express only became aware of the case on Monday.

A probable cause affidavit filed with the court by Sheriff's Detective Steve Harkins states that investigation started on May 20 when the girl's mother complained that Walton, the girl's great uncle, had allegedly been involved in sexual encounters with the girl for several months.

Harkins alleged in the affidavit that Walton had forced the girl to watch pornographic videos on his laptop computer and had recorded video images of the girl dancing naked. He further alleged that Walton "had sexual intercourse" with the girl and had pressured her into performing oral sex.

Court records from the preliminary hearing state that the girl told her parents about the alleged sexual encounters because she "was tired of being sexually harassed."

Harkins testified at the preliminary hearing that Walton's computer is being analyzed for possible child pornography but that results of the analysis are not yet available.

Walton is being represented by Hailey attorney Keith Roark through The Roark Law Firm's public defender contract with Blaine County.

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