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Middleton man charged with sex assault of child

Published On: Mar 11 2013 10:46:19 AM CDT   Updated On: Feb 28 2013 07:36:06 PM CST
James A. "Alex" Gillespie

A Middleton man who is a former church music director has been charged with two counts of sexual assault of a child.

James A. "Alex" Gillespie, 48, of Middleton, stood silent Thursday during his initial appearance in Dane County Circuit Court.

Middleton police said the victim, a 14-year-old boy, is the victim in another local sexual assault case involving a Mount Horeb police lieutenant living in Madison.

Late nights at Gillespie's condo in the 5500 block of Century Avenue prompted neighbors to grow suspicious.

"They're concerned about young men, boys, in his apartment late at night, coming and going, and they expressed those concerns to us," said Capt. Charles Foulke, of the Middleton Police Department.

The criminal complaint said the victim told police, "Yeah, we did something." He went on to tell detectives that Gillespie performed oral sex on him on several occasions, according to the complaint.

Initially, the victim told investigators he was 18 years old.

The detective who contacted the victim said he appeared to be younger than 18 years old.

"Eventually they brought him back to the Police Department and ran a Fast ID on him -- digital fingerprints. We learned he was 14 and that he was a runaway from the Beloit area," Foulke said.

The victim had been missing from his Beloit home since October 2012, Middleton police said.

The victim said he told Gillespie that he was 18 years old and that Gillespie never questioned him about his age, school or anything like that, according to the complaint.

Middleton police said they discovered the victim turned out to be the same boy found living with Dennis Jenks, a Mount Horeb police lieutenant, who is accused of sexually assaulting the same teen.

"This 14-year-old, he came out of left field," Foulke said. "We had no clue about that."

Police said their investigation of Gillespie began in December and continues. Gillespie was fired this week from his position as music director at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Middleton, the church said.

Police said the case against Gillespie remains focused on St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Middleton.

"That was one of the early concerns," Foulke said. "Some of our investigation has revealed that some of the contacts he made with young men and boys was through the church."

For now, investigators continue to look for more victims.

"We're trying to find anybody that was there, that was underage, that had any type of sexual contact with Mr. Gillespie, whether it be the church or whether it be from some other website, chat site, whatever," Foulke said.

Police said Gillespie met the 14-year-old victim on a social media phone app known as Growler.

The pastor of St. Luke's said Gillespie's position at the church did not put him in direct contact with minors, and he's unaware of any connection between the allegations against Gillespie and the church.

In a Madison Police Department case, officers arrested Jenks, 44, at his home in the 6600 block of Raymond Road on Madison's far west side Feb. 13 on suspicion of sexual assault of a child.

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