A 13-year-old boy accused of molesting a 4-year-old neighbor will be charged as an adult, authorities said.
The boy, Jacob Staffey, was arrested Friday during a hearing in Columbia County Juvenile Court at the request of Assistant District Attorney Natalie Paine. Juvenile Court Judge Doug Flanagan ordered sheriff’s deputies to take Staffey into custody to face aggravated child molestation charges related to a June incident in Richmond County.
According to a sheriff’s office report, Staffey and another boy are accused of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl on June 7 in the backyard of a home on Highview Court. The child’s mother told police her daughter came to her complaining that her genital area was hurting and eventually told her the boys pulled down her pants and molested her. The mother said she had repeatedly warned the two boys to stay away from her home.
At the time, Staffey was supposed to be under the supervision of his father, Stephen Staffey, Paine said. The boy and his three brothers had been sent to their father’s home after being released to him by the Department of Family and Children Services, which had taken them into protective custody after the arrest of their mother, Angela M. Staffey, 42, Paine said.
Angela Staffey, of Harlem, was arrested March 1 by Columbia County authorities after being accused of having sex with two juvenile boys in her home. An indictment in April charged her with 13 counts of child molestation, two counts of aggravated child molestation and one count of incest.
Paine told Flanagan the boys were not being properly supervised at their father’s home and they were communicating with their mother in jail who had been “threatening and scolding” the boys by phone. Paine said they were also being supervised and disciplined by their father’s girlfriend, whose own children had been taken away by state authorities.
Flanagan ordered DFCS to take custody of the younger boys and told Stephen Staffey he would appoint a lawyer to represent him in the custody matter. A hearing was set for July 22 for the father to plead his case.
“I have to do what is in the best interest of the children,” Flanagan said.
Paine said expects the 13-year-old will be charged with aggravated child molestation in the June assault, one of the so-called “seven deadly sins” in Georgia that allow authorities to charge children as young as 13 as adults. A Superior Court judge has the discretion to order the case returned to Juvenile Court, under that law.
In addition, Juvenile Court officials said they had also planned to charge Jacob Staffey with sexual battery related to a separate incident at a hearing next week.
Flanagan said, based on those charges and the new ones raised Friday, he found the boy a “danger to himself and to the community,” and had deputies remove him from court. Paine said he would remain at the Regional Youth Detention Center and an official warrant detailing charges would be issued Monday.