Man pleads guilty to raping teenage girl

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By Calen McKinney


An Elk Horn man has pleaded guilty to raping a teenage girl and could spend five years in prison for his crimes.

James M. Fowler, 28, of 265 Indigo Lane, was indicted last August by a Taylor County grand jury and charged with first-degree rape.

According to a Campbellsville Police report, officers began an investigation after they received a report of an alleged rape from a 19-year-old girl who was being treated at Taylor Regional Hospital.

Fowler was arrested and charged and then lodged at the Taylor County Detention Center. He has been incarcerated there since and remained there at press time.

Last Tuesday, Fowler appeared before Taylor Circuit Court Judge Dan Kelly and pleaded guilty to an amended charge of third-degree rape.

In exchange, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney John Miller, the prosecutor in the case, has recommended that Fowler be sentenced to serve five years in prison, be ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and register as a sex offender and receive sex offender treatment. Miller also recommended that Fowler be ordered to not have contact with his victim.

Court records state that the plea agreement was reached to avoid further trauma to the victim. Miller said the victim agreed to the resolution of the case.

Shanda West-Stiles of the Department of Public Advocacy in Columbia represented Fowler. She didn't respond to a request for comment on the case before press time.

According to Fowler's arrest citation, Campbellsville Police Officer Richie French responded to the victim's initial report of the rape and began an investigation.

The victim told French that she had passed out on her couch after taking medicine and becoming sick. She said she awoke and Fowler was raping her.

The girl described Fowler and his vehicle to police. They found his car at a store in Campbellsville, records state, and the car's license plate revealed Fowler was living in Lebanon. Officers traveled to Lebanon and found Fowler at the home.

Police interviewed Fowler and he said he had been in Campbellsville with the victim, but denied raping her.

If convicted by a jury, Fowler could have been sentenced to as much as 20 years in prison.

Formal sentencing in Fowler's case is set for Tuesday, June 3.