A young Salem man could spend the next 55 years in prison for sexually assaulting a teen-age girl over a period of three years.
The Attorney General’s office reports that 28-year-old James Graves has been sentenced to between 40 and 55 years in prison on two counts of first degree sexual assault. Graves had pleaded guilty to the charges in Richardson County District Court in August. He has been required to register as a sex offender.
“Mr. Graves repeatedly took advantage of a young, naïve girl,” said Attorney General Jon Bruning in a written statement released by his office. “This sentence is an appropriate penalty for the crime.”
A Nebraska State Patrol investigation determined Graves had repeatedly sexually assaulted the victim for three years, beginning when she was 14. The girl requested a protection order against Graves after he terrorized her. She reported that on one occasion, Graves hid in her car and while she drove to work he threatened to kill her.
Graves had claimed he had a romantic relationship with the victim.
District Court Judge Daniel Bryan admonished Graves for the claim during sentencing.
“This isn’t a love story,” Bryan stated. “It’s just sexual assault over the course of several years.”