Lowell, NC — A Lowell, North Carolina cop has been accused of impregnating a 14-year-old girl he volunteered to mentor.
WSOCTV reported the ordeal began when Officer James Blair offered to mentor two children — the now impregnated teen, who had previously run away, and her sibling. The girl’s mother says he told her he wanted to take a role in their lives “To show them, ‘Hey, policemen are good.’”
The mother told WSOC she was hesitant at first but allowed him to spend time with her children because he was a policeman. He visited them often and, on one occasion, took them on a trip.
But according to girl’s mother, the relationship came to an abrupt halt when she discovered text messages on her daughter’s phone. WSOC reported:
“Then the mother discovered text messages that indicated her daughter was pregnant and that Blair was the father.
“One of [the] messages, which is in the hands of the SBI, states, ‘If you keep that baby I’m done and you know it.’
“Another said, ‘Do whatever you wanna do, just remember I love you and name it after me.’”
After discovering the texts, the girl’s mother met with Gaston County police, who referred the case to the district attorney. From there, the case was referred to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI), which is now in possession of the text message records. The mother was meeting with investigators at her home on Thursday when Blair also arrived. It is unknown why he showed up, but regardless, he was arrested on site.
The teen’s mother also says he confessed directly to her. “He told me he took her virginity. He told me it was his baby. He told me things happened and he said he was so sorry. And he kept saying, ‘Please forgive him,’” she said.
She also accused him of asking her to facilitate an abortion for her daughter. “‘Get rid of the baby or I’ve lost my life. I’ve lost my life,’” she says he begged her. “How do I kill a baby? I don’t kill no baby. I don’t believe in abortion,” she added.
“He tore my life apart,” she said, expressing her heart was broken because of the trauma he put her child through.
Blair had already been on medical leave for a back injury prior to the mother’s discovery of the texts, though WSOCTV reports that following his arrest he was suspended without pay. He is currently charged with the statutory rape of a minor under the age of fifteen, a felony. His bail is set at $1 million. According to the NCSBI, more charges are pending.
The local district attorney, Locke Bell, stressed that the officer is innocent until proven guilty and advised that the accusations against him should not reflect poorly on all police. “It does not taint an organization to have one bad apple and more than it would if you had a bad teacher or bad banker,” he said. Nevertheless, he has filed an indictment against Blair.
Though residents said they’ve never seen anything like Blair’s case in Lowell, the unfortunate reality is that around the country, police officers have been charged with crimes for engaging in sexual relationships with minors.
While these allegations in no way mean that all officers are sexual predators — nor that all law enforcement officers accused of crimes are guilty — it does highlight a broader problem in American policing: the apparent perception on the part of many officers that, though they are sworn to protect the law, they are free to break it.