A man accused of sexually assaulting an East Kentwood High School student who was later found dead has been ordered to stand trial in an unrelated sexual assault case from 2014.
Quinn Anthony James now has two sexual assault cases pending against him, both involve girls who were still in high school when he met them.
James has been called a person of interest in the late January death of 16-year-old Mujey Dumbuya; he is accused of sexually assaulting her last summer. Kalamazoo police are calling her death a homicide.
But it was an assault that reportedly happened in June, 2014 that had James in Kent County's 63rd District Court on Friday. He was charged in that case a few days after Dumbuya’s body was found in Kalamazoo.
The alleged victim testified Friday that James choked her inside his apartment and threatened to kill her if she screamed out. Police investigated the case back in 2014, but charges were not filed at the time.
Defense attorney Jonathan Schildgen asked that criminal charges be dismissed.
“They didn’t believe her then, they don’t believe her now,’’ Schildgen told Judge Jeffrey O’Hara. “Mr. James is being held, I would argue, in some ways illegally, while they investigate him for some other crime. I would ask the court to put an end to the whole charade right now.’’
O’Hara denied the request, advancing the case to Kent County Circuit Court. James, who lists an address on McKee Avenue SW in Wyoming, is charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct and assault with intent to commit great bodily harm.
James, 42, was charged five days after Dumbuya’s body was found. James is awaiting trial on charges he sexually assaulted Dumbuya last summer in Kentwood. The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office says even though Dumbuya is dead, the trial will go on as planned. Charges include four counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year felony. James is also charged with being a habitual offender, which could increase his time behind bars.
Dumbuya was last seen the morning of Jan. 24 when she left home to catch a bus to school. Family became concerned when she did not show up at school. Police found her body after it was spotted by two people out for a walk.
Five days after Dumbuya’s body was found, police arrested James in the 2014 Gaines Township case.
During Friday’s preliminary hearing, the alleged victim, now 22, said she was walking home from Ottawa Hills High School when James approached and struck up a conversation. They spent time together, but were not romantically involved, the woman testified.
“He bought minor things, things like food, he bought me some shoes and clothes,’’ she told the court.
James wanted a sexual relationship, but the woman said she declined. She was visiting with James at his apartment when he again pressed the issue, the woman testified.
“I got up to walk out the door and he grabbed me and choked me,’’ she testified.
The woman said after James raped her, she got him to take her to a nearby restaurant. She called police from a restaurant bathroom. She said she was still in the bathroom when James entered and asked what she was doing.
“He told me if I was calling the police, give him time to escape,’’ the woman testified.
James spent time in prison for an 1991 armed robbery conviction in Kent County. He has convictions in 2003 for attempted possession of weapons while serving time at a state prison in the Upper Peninsula.
James worked for Kentwood Public Schools between Oct. 2011 and Nov. 2017 as a grounds and maintenance worker. He was fired after allegations of sexual abuse involving Dumbuya came to light. Kentwood officials said James did not meet Dumbuya through the school district and the alleged sexual assault did not occur on school grounds.
James contends he and Dumbuya had consensual sex last summer; he met her through a relative, court records show. Dumbuya told investigators he forced her to have sex at four different places, including James’ home in Wyoming. She was 15 years old at the time.
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