MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- A 30-year-old man is facing criminal allegations in the statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl, who he would tell police he has known "since the day she was born."
Dwaine L. Ragsdale of Patton, Mo., was arrested Friday on four felony counts that claim he performed sexual acts on the victim during a nearly two-month period until a teacher reported the suspected abuse.
Ragsdale, who had been held since his arrest on a $75,000 cash-only bond, at arraignment Wednesday was released on his own recognizance by Judge Scott Thomsen.
Prosecutor Steve Gray filed the four statutory counts -- two for rape and two for sodomy -- for incidents alleged to have taken place between Dec. 1 and last Friday. Ragsdale, who does not have a lawyer according to court records, faces a maximum sentence of 28 years if he's convicted.
According to a probable-cause statement, the Bollinger County Sheriff's Department was made aware of the allegations Friday by the Missouri Department of Social Services.
The victim, according to the charging document, apparently confided in a high-school teacher who reported suspicions to school counselors.
Deputy Nick Becker, who prepared the statement, met with the victim who at first said she was only friends with Ragdale. Becker was given permission to search the victim's phone, he said, and he found messages from Ragsdale in which he described the relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend. The girl received a word of warning from a friend via text message: She should end the relationship, her friend said, before Ragsdale was charged with child molestation.
According to Becker, Ragsdale initially denied the accusations during an interview with police. He subsequently admitted to two incidents, which prompted his arrest.
During an interview, Becker said, Ragsdale said he had known the victim since birth, and he allegedly detailed what he had done to the girl on four occasions.
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