by: Ken Lemon, Tina Terry Updated: Mar 10, 2017 – 7:21 AM
LOWELL, N.C. – A Lowell police officer pleaded guilty Thursday after impregnating a 14-year-old girl.
James Blair will spend up to 19 years in prison for statutory rape. He will also have to wear an ankle monitor for the rest of his life as well as register as a sex offender.
The 14-year-old’s mother was in the courtroom during the plea and sentencing. She spoke out after court, but Channel 9 is not identifying her or showing her face in order to protect her daughter.
“I’m happy with what happened in there, because he kept contacting my daughter through jail,” the mother said.
She said it has been a tough year for her family after she told Channel 9 that Blair volunteered to mentor her daughter, but eventually she learned he’d had inappropriate contact with her daughter in his police car and at his home.
“My daughter is going through so much she’s really hurt. He manipulated my daughter, he manipulated my family,” she said. “My family is upside down but we’re trying to pick up the pieces and trying to move on.”
(Click PLAY to hear raw interview from teen’s mother after court)
She is working to forgive Blair, and she’s preparing to welcome the baby.
“My heart is so broken. We got this new baby coming. I’m going to love this baby,” the mother said.
She believes Blair may have done the same thing to others while working with police.
“In my heart, I know there’s other victims,” the mother said. “Please come forth so we can put an end to all of this.”
Text messages led to officer’s arrest
Channel 9 reporter Ken Lemon broke the story in September on Twitter.
Blair was taken into custody after being arrested at the teen’s house. SBI agents were there talking to the family when Blair showed up, officials said.
Blair was charged with one count of statutory rape and more charges will follow, officials said. His bond was set at $1 million.
“My heart was broken,” the girl’s mother told Channel 9 after Blair was charged.
She said Blair volunteered to mentor her children. She said she was reluctant at first, but then agreed to it because he was a police officer.
Blair and the woman’s daughter had been texting on her phone, the mother said.
She said she then discovered text messages indicating that he took advantage of her daughter.
“He tore my life apart,” the mother said.
She said the veteran officer came to her home asking to connect with her 14-year-old daughter, who had run away before, and her sibling.
“To show them, ‘Hey, policemen are good,’” the mother said.
Blair would visit often and even took them on a trip.
Then the mother discovered text messages that indicated her daughter was pregnant and that Blair was the father.
One of messages, which was in the hands of the SBI, states, “If you keep that baby I’m done and you know it.”
Another said, “Do whatever you wanna do, just remember I love you and name it after me.”
She went to Gaston County police and they contacted the district attorney. He asked the SBI to investigate.
“I did meet with him. I told him how bad he broke my heart. How he betrayed my family,” the mother said.
She said Blair had inappropriate contact with her daughter at his home and in his patrol car, and told Channel 9 that he confessed to her.
“He told me he took her virginity. He told me it was his baby. He told me things happened and he said he was so sorry. And he kept saying, ‘Please forgive him,’” she said.
She said then Blair asked her to do something that she considered unimaginable.
“‘Get rid of the baby or I’ve lost my life. I’ve lost my life.’ How do I kill a baby? I don’t kill no baby. I don’t believe in abortion,” the mother said.
Blair has been on medical leave for the past 80 days, which started before the investigation began.
The girl’s mother said she may not have known what was going on if she didn’t read it on her phone.