Friday, March 23, 2012

James Box, City of Cleveland Employee, Again Accused of Alleged Inappropriate Sexual Conduct (Updated)

Posted By on Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 3:42 PM

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Update: Cleveland prosecutors say one of the two women James Box allegedly behaved badly with has a case for "unlawful restraint" if she wants to press charges. No word yet on her decision.

Via Cleveland.com, the details of just what a freaking specimen of gentlemanly honor Box is:

The woman told police she invited Box into her apartment for something to drink after he looked at the car.

Box grabbed her arm, moved her against a wall and suggested having sex with her, the woman said. After she said no, Box unzipped his pants and exposed his penis, she said. She then asked him to leave and he did.

The woman could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon. Box was reached on Thursday, but he declined to comment about the accusations made against him.

Lovely.

The case involving the other woman has been passed on to Shaker Heights police. — Grzegorek

***

A city of Cleveland employee whose track record of alleged crimes has done nothing to slow down his public sector career is back in the spotlight, facing new accusations but still drawing government pay.

According to WKYC, James Box is responsible for recently ending a Cleveland court program for low-level offenders after two women came forward with accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior. As we’ve reported before, Box isn’t new to sex charges. Big hat tip to Tom Meyer, whose investigator investigation popped the lid on the recent development.

The news report says in 2006 the Cleveland Municipal court launched an initiative aimed at helping at-risk offenders; the court teamed up with a national organization that works this field, Amer-I-Can. That program was started by former Browns legend Jim Brown (who, on a side note, is a real upstanding citizen in his own right when it comes to alleged violence against women). Anyway, on the home front, Amer-I-Can brought on board James Box, a “youth outreach” “program director” with the city of Cleveland.

We’re sticking “youth outreach” in quotes because of the sick irony at work here — as we reported in 2004, Box was wanted on a child-rape charge involving a 11-year-old girl from 15 years back. He only skirted free thanks to an oversight in the system. Our original report:

Last week, Judge Burt Griffin dismissed a child-rape charge against community activist James Box. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations had run out on the 15-year-old case, thanks to serial bungling that would make a good episode of Reno 911.

The alleged victim's mother gave Box's name to police, but the detective never bothered to ask for his address, which Mom knew. Police passed the case to the Cuyahoga County prosecutor, which got a grand-jury indictment. The charge then went to the Sheriff's Department, which never served the warrant because it didn't know Box's address. So the case sat in limbo while Box — far from hiding — led a very public life as a street-corner activist.

Box saw this as evidence that the system works. Griffin saw it another way.

"The lack of attention the state gave to this case is particularly disheartening, considering that it involved the rape of an 11-year-old girl," he wrote in his ruling.

It’s worth pointing out here that Box’ sheet wasn’t clean up to that point: he had a 1982 conviction for aggravated robbery, a 1995 hit for sexual imposition. But even after the 2004 charges came to light, Box retained his position at city hall.

But his behavior allegedly hasn’t cooled off since. According to Meyer’s investigation, last fall the Cleveland Municipal court cut ties with Amer-I-Can after two women accused Box of inappropriate sexual behavior. One of the incidents allegedly happened in Cleveland, the other in Shaker Heights.

Cleveland Police's sex crimes unit is investigating one of the allegations, a spokesman said.

[Cleveland Municipal Court spokesman Ed ]Ferenc said the second allegation occurred in Shaker Heights, but a detective there said Cleveland Police never provided him with enough information to openĀ a case.

The sad kicker here is that the city knew about the accusations as far back as January, but Box still has a job. He’s been placed on administrative duty, which probably means he’s sitting at a desk somewhere getting paid to surf the web. The city says they're letting the criminal justice system work through the case.

Which is all fine and dandy, but the real question here is how does a guy like this get a city job in the first place? After 2004, how do you justify keeping this guy on salary, much less put him 1,000 yards within reach of young women in an official capacity. Institutional idiocy and laziness may be endemic to big city government, but when it provides cover for a serial sex offender, that’s a whole different arena of complicity.

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