Sex abuse case gets a waive

Jerry Lee Walker of Paoli shies away from a photo as he's led out of a courtroom last week and back to Garvin County jail. Walker is facing 31 felony charges related to the sexual exploitation of a teenage girl. (PV Democrat photo)

A Paoli man has waived his right to the next step in his criminal case alleging he led a teenage girl down a long path of sexual exploitation.

Jerry Lee Walker, 39, was restrained and wearing a mask for safety protocols when he stood before a Garvin County judge late last week.

Walker initially met with his court appointed attorney behind closed doors before coming out and announcing he was waiving his right to a preliminary hearing. His next court appearance is scheduled for later this month.

It was just over a month ago when Walker first faced charges, 14 in all, as he's accused of “grooming” a Paoli girl over a few months.

Just days later that number of felonies jumped to 31 after investigators looked closer into a multitude of cell phone messages between Walker and the girl.

Walker is accused of first pushing for the Paoli teen to send nude photos of herself and then offering money for sex and later forcing the girl into sexual acts.

Court records show Walker first expressed interest in the girl with electronic messages starting back in June 2019.

That connection led to the summer of 2020 when Walker is alleged to have begun a series of requests for the girl, then 15 years old, to electronically send nude photos of herself.

During that period Walker is accused of meeting with the girl and forcing her into a sexual act.

Electronic records indicate she refused at first but later did send the lewd photos on a couple of occasions in February 2021. The girl was 16 at the time.

Early that month Walker is accused of offering the girl $400 to have sexual intercourse, which records show she refused.

Investigators have said the electronic records show there was a clear pattern of Walker “grooming” the girl toward sexual interactions.

Since his arrest Walker has remained in Garvin County jail with a $500,000 bond. Prosecutors initially asked for that total to be $750,000.

Formal allegations include forcible oral sodomy, soliciting child prostitution, lewd proposals to a child, solicitation of sexual conduct with a minor and sexual battery of a minor.

If bond is ever posted the conditions of Walker’s release include him not being allowed to have contact with the girl or any minor and he is not allowed access to the Internet or any electronic device capable of communication.

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