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
  • Embezzler from Joplin car dealerships sent to prison

    A federal judge has sentenced Kathryn M. Stayton to 13 months in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from Frank Fletcher Ford and Credit Cars of Joplin. U.S. District Judge Greg Kays assessed the 36-year-old Joplin woman the prison term at a sentencing hearing this week in federal court in Springfield. The judge also ordered the former controller at both car dealerships to pay restitution totaling $121,249. 51.

    April 18, 2014

  • Screening of MSSU presidential applicants to wrap by end of April

    The Board of Governors at Missouri Southern State University could be in a position to name a president as early as the end of June, according to a timeline presented Friday by the co-chair of the presidential search committee.

    April 18, 2014

  • Teams from Carl Junction, Diamond advance in Destination Imagination

    Student teams from Carl Junction and Diamond will be traveling to Destination Imagination finals May 20-24 in Knoxville, Tenn., after being top finishers in competition this month at Missouri Southern State University.

    April 18, 2014

  • Neosho Dogwood Tour reset, after false start

    The 53rd annual Neosho Dogwood Tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 27. The event, presented by the Neosho Rotary Club and the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, originally was scheduled for Sunday, April 13.

    April 18, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pittsburg Farmer's Market to open in new building, new location

    The official market season in Pittsburg, Kan., will kick off in the market’s new pavilion-style building at a new address, 11th and Broadway, on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Market hours will continue throughout the season on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon, with some Wednesdays or other special days throughout the season as announced.

    April 18, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

Yes.
No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter