A former U.S. Army private stationed at Fort Bragg was sentenced to almost 13 years in prison following a kidnapping conviction related to a 12-year-old girl with whom he had sex with at Fort Bragg.
The events in question transpired in October 2018, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina, sent Tuesday afternoon to announce the sentencing of the former soldier, James Murdoch Peele.
According to court documents, Peele brought the girl to Fort Bragg after taking her from the window of her grandmother’s house in the night. The grandmother saw mulch on the bed and a ransom note demanding $20,000 for the return of the girl, according to the attorney’s office.
Peele allegedly called the child his “girlfriend” to a fellow soldier and claimed she was 18, and Peele was listed as her “boyfriend” on the girl’s Facebook profile. Peele allegedly drove the girl to his parents’ house in South Carolina, where they stayed for a brief time, until Peele was summoned back to Fort Bragg by his sergeant.
Peele’s barracks roommate was present when he brought back the minor. Peele asked him “to turn up his music, which the roommate understood to mean that Peele planned to have sex with the girl behind a sheet that had been hung across the room for privacy,” according to the press release.
Soon after that, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrived at Peele’s barracks. In a forensic interview, she told investigators that the two had sexual intercourse. Peele claimed the minor asked him to stage a kidnapping.
“She had told Peele her true age, and he responded that age is just a number,” according to the press release. “She admitted that she had not been kidnapped but denied coming up with the idea to stage a kidnapping.”
From the press release:
G. Norman Acker, III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. The Craven County Sheriff’s Office and Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jake D. Pugh and Erin Blondel prosecuted the case.
More information can be found here.
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