01/29/09 — SJAFB airman will face sexual assault charge

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SJAFB airman will face sexual assault charge

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on January 29, 2009 1:46 PM

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Jeremiah Powers

A U.S. Air Force technical sergeant has been charged in connection with the sexual assault of a 13-year-old boy and with allegedly showing him pornographic material, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.

An investigation was launched after family members alleged that Jeremiah Williams Powers, 32, of Country Acres Road, had sexually assaulted the boy, investigators said.

Powers is a member of the 4th Fighter Wing's Equip-ment Maintenance Squad-ron, and because of that affiliation with Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the base's Office of Special Investigation was contacted, Sheriff's Office Capt. Tom Effler said.

"I will say that the base cooperated with us," he said. "The U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigation assisted us the best that they could."

Effler said he could not reveal specifics about the investigation, but Detectives Sgt. Richard Winders and Larry Mitchell, along with Office of Special Investi-gation agent Patrick Morgan, reportedly spent 10 days on the case.

Through the Sheriff's Office, the Air Force base released an official statement:

"This allegation is of a very serious nature and has been handled appropriately. The Air Force ... (has and will cooperate) fully with (the) Wayne County Sheriff's Office to ensure due process of the law and a thorough investigation into allegations regarding (Powers). He is currently assigned to the 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron. Specific actions of the Air Force will depend on the results of the investigation."

Powers' charges include a statutory sex offense, indecent liberties with a child and disseminating harmful material to a minor.

He was jailed under a $500,000 bond earlier this week, according to Sheriff's Office documents.

Indecent liberties with a minor is among offenses for which a judge can order electronic surveillance of a person convicted.

While on bail and on pre-trial release, a defendant accused of rape or other sex offenses described by state law must stay away from the home, school, business or place of employment of an alleged victim.

Defendants are also barred from communicating either directly or indirectly with an alleged victim, except under special circumstances set by a judge.