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Macon woman in child sex abuse case wants judge to try her, not jury

Macon woman in child sex abuse case wants judge to try her, not jury

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MACON — A Macon woman who denies partnering with her boyfriend to sexually assault three children under the age of 13 appeared in court Tuesday saying she has changed her mind about a jury trial.

Ashley N. Jobe, 32, was due to be tried on Aug. 17 but told Macon County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Griffith that she now wanted a bench trial before him only, with no jury present.

Jobe’s change of mind was announced to the judge by her defense attorney, Susan Moorehead. Jobe confirmed her wishes when questioned directly by the judge who carefully explained the trial by jury rights she was giving up.

Jobe is pleading not guilty to four counts of predatory criminal sexual assault, three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, four counts of sexually exploiting a child and one count of exploiting a child.

Her boyfriend, Jesse W. Demascal, 31, is pleading not guilty to six counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault, six counts of sexually exploiting a child and one count of exploiting a child.

Demascal’s charges remain set for a jury trial and his case is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Aug. 13.

The couple was arrested by the Macon County Sheriff’s Office in January 2019 after detectives began investigating reports of sexual assault passed on by the state’s Department of Children and Family Services.

Victim interviews described a pattern of abuse in which the couple were accused of performing sex acts in front of the children and with the children. A sworn affidavit from the police said the couple at first denied all charges but then said if any abuse did happen, it was committed while they were under the influence of illegal drugs.

In a hearing in June, the judge ruled that statements made by the children during “forensic” interviews would be allowed in evidence against both Jobe and Demascal. And Griffith also allowed in statements made by the children detailing sexual assaults and acts made to the foster mother currently looking after them, a woman who hopes to be able to adopt the kids.

Special Prosecutor Kate Kurtz told Griffith she will need at least half a day for the bench trial to allow sufficient time for the children to give evidence themselves. The judge agreed to hold a “scheduling conference” on Sept. 2 to work out the details of the bench trial and its timing.

Both Jobe and Demascal remain held in the Macon County Jail. Her bail is set at $750,000 and Demascal’s is set at $500,000.


Mug shots from the Herald & Review 

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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