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    James Craig Bird Sentenced 24 Years to Life in Prison

    (GOLDEN, CO — March 9, 2012) James Craig Bird, 65, was in court today to be sentenced for sexually assaulting four teenaged boys. District Judge Jane Tidball sentenced Bird to prison for a period of from 24 years to life which was the maximum sentence he faced.

    Three of the boys are brothers. Two are now young adults. The boys and their mother met Bird at the Heritage Christian Center where they attended church. At the time, Bird was the pilot for a church leader. He began to cultivate a relationship with the boys and their mother, helping her financially. Soon Bird was grooming the boys for future sexual assaults by giving them expensive gifts like motorcycles and cars, taking them on trips, taking them to sporting events, including seasons tickets to the Avs, and providing them and their friends with drugs and alcohol. He paid for all three boys to have braces, and later paid college tuition for one of the boys. He took them on trips around the US and in Europe.

    The sexual assaults occurred from 2002 until 2009 when one of the teens came forward and reported it to the police in April 2009.

    In 2001 Bird began grooming the oldest brother. They met at the church when the teen was 15. Bird presented himself as a mentor. He gave the teen expensive clothing, watches, a motorcycle, an IPOD, the latest video games and took him exciting places in his airplane. The teen would spend the night at Bird’s house. The sex assaults began when he was 17.

    Bird began the same pattern with the middle brother. The sexual assaults began in 2007 when this teen was also 17. As time passed, both boys were given anything they asked for. They lived with Bird for a period of time. Shortly after the boys turned 18 Bird legally adopted them.

    The youngest of the three brothers was first sexually assaulted by Bird when he was 14 years old.

    The fourth victim named in this case was sexually assaulted by Bird in the mid-1990s when he was 13 years old. Bird lived in Douglas County at the time. The Court was told that police reports show that Bird frequently entertained young boys at his house in Douglas County.

    The young men described how Bird would threaten, slap, punch, or hit then when they did not comply with his wishes.

    Prosecutor Krislene Lorenz asked for the maximum sentence in this case. She described to the court the “trail of destruction” left by Bird in the lives of these young people. She commended the strength and courage of the young men who came forward and have participated in the prosecution that put an end to the cycle of abuse perpetuated by Bird.

    Three of the young men who were victimized by Bird spoke to Judge Tidball before she imposed sentence, and the fourth had prepared a statement which was read by a friend. Each of the young men described the devastating effect Bird has had on their lives, taking away their teen years, and destroying their faith and trust in themselves and others.

    Bird pled guilty to sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust as part of a pattern of abuse naming all four victims.

    Pam Russell
    DA Public Information

    March 9, 2012

    Last Updated: 6-20-2013
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    A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. See Colo. RPC 3.6.