GREENFIELD — An Indianapolis man agreed to serve a 15-year sentence after admitting he forced a young girl to have sex with him repeatedly for years, court documents state.
James Early, 38, 7038 E. 10th St., Indianapolis, accepted a plea deal from prosecutors this week that calls for him to plead guilty to sexual misconduct with a minor as a Class B felony — a charge that was filed against him late last year after a girl came forward to tell police she’d been abused daily by Early for nearly three years, according to court documents.
The agreement — which a judge upheld Monday in Hancock Circuit Court — called for Early to spend 13 years in an Indiana Department of Correction facility followed by two years on probation; the charge he pleaded guilty to carries a maximum penalty of 20 years.
The victim told police Early repeatedly forced her to have sex with him (he was living in Greenfield at the time, officials said), court documents state. Once Early told the girl he’d had dreams about them being married in a past life, she told investigators. The girl told police she was afraid of the man because he would become violent, often hitting and choking her during the encounters, according to court records.
During Early’s sentencing hearing Monday, the victim took the witness stand to tell the judge how the abuse changed her. The girl said she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and regularly sees a doctor to help her cope with its effects.
“This ruined my life,” she told a judge, tears streaming down her face. “I can never be normal again.”
Prosecutors originally filed three criminal counts against Early: one count of sexual misconduct with a minor as a Class B felony; one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor as a Class A misdemeanor and one count of intimidation as a Class A misdemeanor.
Both misdemeanor charges were dropped as part of the agreement with prosecutors.
Early’s wife was also charged in connection with the case, police said.
The girl told investigators she once confided in the man’s wife about the misconduct, but the woman did not contact police, court records state.
The victim told investigators she once confronted Early, telling him her plans to report him to police; days later, she received a phone call from the man’s wife, Lisa Early, 38, also of Indianapolis, asking her not to come forward, according to court documents.
After learning of the allegations, Lisa Early called the victim to say “she always knew something was going on” between her husband and the girl, and she wanted the girl to know she forgave them, court documents state.
The girl told police Lisa Early asked her not to tell anyone about the relationship, police said. The victim decided to report the abuse to police a few months later, according to police reports.
Prosecutors filed one count of neglect of a dependent resulting in bodily injury as a Class C felony against Lisa Early. The charge carries a penalty of two to eight years and up to $10,000 in fines.
Lisa Early’s case is still pending in Hancock Circuit Court, records show. Her next court appearance is scheduled for March 14.