Prior victims called as adult witnesses in sexual abuse case

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Apr. 2—Judge Stephen Kistler is allowing three men between the ages of 31 and 37 to testify against their abuser in his most recent felony child sexual abuse case.

James Bear has previous convictions of sexual abuse against children from 1997, and in 2019 he was accused of the crime again.

He was released from prison in 2014.

All three of the witnesses heard at Friday's motion hearing were children at the time of their abuse.

Two of the witnesses were brothers and said at the time of the abuse, Bear's wife was their babysitter.

The other witness said Bear was a family friend of his step-father.

All three of the witnesses disclosed sexual abuse when they were left alone with Bear, which is the same testimony of the recent 4-year-old child.

The first witness said Bear started with small talk to gain his trust before advancing to adult talk and eventually touching him inappropriately.

He said this happened when he was between 10-11 years old.

He was cross-examined by Bear's attorney Royce Hobbs.

Hobbs asked the witness if he was in the custody of the Department of Human Services when he disclosed abuse.

The witness was unsure if he was in DHS custody.

The first witness said it has been 20 years and he buried the abuse deep inside.

The second witness was between 10 and 12 at the time of the sexual abuse.

"His wife was our babysitter," he told the court.

His brother was also a victim and is 4 years younger.

The third witness said he last saw Bear when he was 8-years-old and at trial.

Hobbs cross-examined the two brothers and asked if they had ever been in the custody of DHS.

They both said no.

The court also heard testimony from Holly Chandler and Brandi Watts, employees at the Saville Center.

Assistant District Attorney Debra Vincent went over the duties and job qualifications with Chandler and Watts.

Vincent argued that Kistler should allow all witnesses to testify at Bear's upcoming trial in May.

Hobbs argued against that, but ultimately Kistler ruled the testimony is permitted.