Editor’s note: The Brunswick County District Court clerk’s office initially misidentified the name of the judge who lowered the bond as Judge Scoti Ussery. The District Attorney’s office clarified that it was District Court Judge Jason Disbrow.
BRUNSWICK COUNTY — A Leland man charged with numerous felony sex crimes was released earlier this week after his bond was lowered from $1 million dollars to $50,000.
Joel Michael Rouse, 42, was arrested on Friday, on numerous felony charges. On Saturday morning, Lt. Jeremy Humphries, Leland Police spokesperson, announced Rouse was being detained at the Brunswick County Detention Facility on a $1 million secured bond.
According to arrest warrants, Rouse is charged with repeatedly raping a young woman for years. The first offense is alleged to have occurred in May of 2012, when the victim was 14 years old. The sexual assaults allegedly continued until April of 2017.
Rouse is charged with eight felony offenses, allegedly committed over the course of five years.
On Monday, Rouse made his first appearance in Brunswick County Court District Court. District Judge Jason Disbrow presided over the appearance.
Judge Disbrow lowered Rouse’s bond by 95 percent, to $50,000; the bond was paid by Jason “Chazz” Pulliam of All American Bail Bonding. As a condition of his release, Rouse was ordered not to have contact with the victim or anyone under the age of 18.
Rouse also requested a probable cause hearing, according to court documents, which will be held on August 27.
The Leland Police Department does not set bonds – that is the purview of magistrates and judges – but a spokesperson did say the department had not expected Rouse’s bond to be lowered.
“We were surprised that the bond was lowered down to $50,000,” Lt. Humpries said. “However, it’s not up to us to determine what is a fair bond it. The judge that heard his case must have thought it was appropriate.”
Assistant District Attorney Glenn Emery, who has been assigned to prosecute Rouse, said the District Attorney’s office was displeased with the judge’s decision.
“We’re not happy about it, I can tell you that,” Emery said. “The charges are serious, and we still obviously plan to prosecute, but no, we’re not happy about it.”
Send comments and tips to Benjamin Schachtman at email@example.com, @pcdben on Twitter, and (910) 538-2001.