The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

September 13, 2012

Three women accuse Joplin man of sexual assault

JOPLIN, Mo. — Three young women testified Thursday that Jacob T. Blackburn sexually assaulted them, with two recounting rapes that took place four years ago in parking lots at Joplin High School and a Wal-Mart store.

Blackburn, 21, appeared with his attorney at a preliminary hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin. At the conclusion of the hearing, Associate Circuit Judge Richard Copeland ordered Blackburn bound over for trial on two counts of forcible rape and one count of forcible sodomy.

“I just kept telling him to stop, and he wouldn’t stop,” said the woman who testified that Blackburn raped her in April 2008 when they were both students at Joplin High School.

She said the defendant was a friend of one of her friends, and she had sneaked outside with him to his car between classes to smoke a cigarette. It surprised her at first when he leaned over and started kissing her. The next thing she knew he had put her seat back and was on top of her and pulling her clothes off, she said. She tried to open the car door but couldn’t.

“I tried hitting him,” she said. “It didn’t work.”

Afterward, she pulled her clothes on and ran back inside the school. She told her best friend what happened when she ran into her in the hallway. Her friend told another friend, who eventually told school officials, and Joplin police were contacted.

She said she gave a statement to an officer and spoke with a woman at the Children’s Center. She was uncertain if the conversation at the center was videotaped. But nothing ever came of the matter until the prosecutor’s office contacted her recently, she said.

A woman who testified that Blackburn raped her seven months later, in November 2008, said she also reported the assault to police, but no charge was filed until recently.

“The officer who took my report said it was his word against mine since I was 18,” she said.

She was in college at the time and had known Blackburn for a couple of months. He had sent a text message asking if she would meet him at the Wal-Mart store on West Seventh Street, and she had agreed. Later, when they left the store, he talked her into sitting in his pickup truck with him.

She recounted a similar assault that took place inside the defendant’s truck.

The third woman to take the witness stand at the hearing said Blackburn assaulted her at his residence in November of last year. She had gone there to hang out with him but had tried to make it clear to him beforehand that she did not want a relationship with him and did not want “anything intimate” with him.

She said his parents and a grandparent were at the house when she got there, and they watched a football game together. Later, she went back to his room to watch a movie, and he began coming on to her, she told the court.

“He said he was aroused and it was my job to take care of that, and I said it wasn’t,” she said.

He forced himself on her anyway, sexually assaulting her with his hand, she said. She testified that it was “like an out-of-body experience” during which she felt numb and unable to move.

Asked by Blackburn’s attorney, Ross Rhoades, why she never screamed to catch the attention of his parents or grandparent, who might have come and intervened on her behalf, she said she did not feel like she could.

Jeremy Crowley, assistant prosecutor, said after the hearing that the two rape reports from 2008 were not referred to the prosecutor’s office for charges until after the third victim came forward last year. He said the detective assigned to that case brought the two older cases to the attention of the prosecutor’s office, and the victims were recontacted.

2008 cases

Lt. Brian Lewis of the Joplin Police Department said two incidents involving Jacob Blackburn and female victims were reported to police in 2008, with an incident at Joplin High School reported a week after it had taken place. Globe efforts to obtain an explanation as to why the cases were not being prosecuted until now were unsuccessful Thursday.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • World Tai Chi Day to be celebrated on Saturday

    At least two communities in the area will be celebrating World Tai Chi Day Saturday with outdoor events at area parks.

    April 24, 2014

  • Groundbreaking set for MSSU residence hall complex

    A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, April 28, for the new residence hall complex at Missouri Southern State University.

    April 24, 2014

  • Pittsburg kicks off season of art walks

    Pittsburg ArtWalk will kick off its season Friday in downtown Pittsburg from 5 to 9 p.m. with more than 40 artists and organizations and a few new components.

    April 24, 2014

  • Pitt State Pecha Kucha set for Friday

    The presenters at Pittsburg State University’s spring Pecha Kucha night may struggle with how to pronounce the event, but they all agree on how it works.

    April 24, 2014

  • PSU Student Center groundbreaking set for April 30

    In 2039, Pittsburg State Students will open a time capsule and get a picture of what life was like on campus today. Filling that time capsule will be one of the tasks at a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, April 30, to kick off a major expansion and renovation of the Overman Student Center at PSU.

    April 24, 2014

  • Missouri lawmakers file three resolutions calling for impeaching governor

    While Gov. Jay Nixon was in Nevada, Mo., on Wednesday, a Missouri House panel led by Republicans began hearing arguments on three measures calling for impeaching him. Nixon has downplayed the proceedings as a legislative “publicity stunt.” One resolution, sponsored by Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, is critical of Nixon for waiting several months to call special elections to fill three vacated House seats.

    April 23, 2014

  • r042314psumove2.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Moving day for biology and chemistry building at Pittsburg State

    They didn’t all go two-by-two, and the person in charge wasn’t named Noah, but nonetheless, critters of all shapes and sizes were on the move Wednesday. Students, volunteers and staff members helped Delia Lister, director of Nature Reach, relocate everything from a pair of prairie dogs to a vocal macaw named Charlie so that Heckert-Wells Hall — the biology and chemistry building where they are housed on the campus of Pittsburg State University — can undergo a $4.4 million transformation in the coming months.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos 1 Slideshow

  • Respond With Love flower.jpg Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns

    Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • New Powell bridge to open today

    Great River Associates engineer Spencer Jones, of Springfield, is planning a final inspection of the new Powell bridge on Cowan Road off Route E, to be followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. today. The initial cost for the bridge was put at $800,000.

    April 23, 2014

  • Former Webb City teacher charged with sexual contact with student

    A former Webb City High School choir teacher was charged Tuesday in Jasper County Circuit Court with having sexual contact with a student. According to a probable-cause statement, Carrie Njoroge, 30, of Oronogo, had consensual sexual intercourse with an 18-year-old male student in her office at Webb City High School during the evening hours of April 15.

    April 23, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

What’s your favorite tree?

A. Maple
B. Oak
C. Dogwood
D. Redbud
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter