Crime

Independence police officer charged with statutory rape of young teen

Independence Police Officer James M. Combs, 37, is charged with statutory rape after allegedly having sex with a teenage girl over a period of more than a year.
Independence Police Officer James M. Combs, 37, is charged with statutory rape after allegedly having sex with a teenage girl over a period of more than a year.

An Independence police officer has been charged with statutory rape, accused of having sex with a girl beginning when she was 14 or 15 years old, according to authorities.

Jackson County prosecutors filed the charge against the 37-year-old officer, James M. Combs, on Wednesday. According to court documents, Combs is accused of having sexual intercourse with the girl on numerous occasions over a period of more than a year, from December 2014 to June 2016.

Because Combs is an Independence police officer, the Police Department handed the investigation over to the Missouri Highway Patrol.

Investigators allegedly found that the girl was 14 or 15 years old when the sexual contact first occurred, and that Combs was aware of her age. The acts allegedly occurred at Combs’ Independence home.

The Independence Police Department issued a written statement saying that Combs has been with the department since 2002 and that he has not been performing duties as a police officer since the complaint was made against him.

Combs surrendered to authorities Thursday and posted a $75,000 bond, according to prosecutors.

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