A former Fort Bragg soldier was sentenced to 12 years in prison for staging the kidnapping of his 12-year-old 'girlfriend'

A former Fort Bragg soldier was sentenced to 12 years in prison for staging the kidnapping of his 12-year-old 'girlfriend'
FILE - In this Jan. 4, 2020, file photo a sign for at Fort Bragg, N.C., is shown. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, both former Army officers, put out word that they are “open to a bipartisan discussion” of renaming Army bases like North Carolina’s Fort Bragg that honor Confederate officers associated by some with the racism of that tumultuous time. (AP Photo/Chris Seward, File)Associated Press

A former Fort Bragg soldier was sentenced to over 12 years in prison for staging a kidnapping and having sex with a 12-year-old girl he called his "girlfriend," the Department of Justice said Tuesday.

Prosecutors said James Murdoch Peele, a 19-year-old private in the 82nd Airborne, took the girl through the window of her grandmother's house on October 21, 2018.

Peele then drove from North Carolina to his home in South Carolina, before later returning to his barracks with the girl, claiming she was his 18-year-old girlfriend, according to the Justice Department. The Federal Bureau of Investigation tracked Peele to his barracks where he had sexual intercourse with the girl, prosecutors said.
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According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of North Carolina, the girl said she told Peele her age, but he responded by saying that age is just a number.

She also said the kidnapping had been staged, but denied any involvement in planning the kidnapping.

Peele admitted to having sex with the girl and was charged with statutory rape, as well as first-degree kidnapping, and burglar, prosecutors said.
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