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Preliminary Hearing Scheduled for Volcano Man Accused of Sexual Assault

By Tiffany DeMasters
April 13, 2021, 5:57 PM HST
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A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for a Volcano man accused of sexually assaulting a 57-year-old woman for Thursday, April 15.

James Michael Taylor, 46, appeared in District Court before Judge Harry Freitas Tuesday, April 13, on two counts of first-degree sexual assault, third-degree sexual assault, third-degree assault and kidnapping. A request by the defense to reduce Taylor’s bail was denied and was confirmed at $187,000.

Charges stem from an incident that occurred on April 1. A probable cause statement, filed in 3rd District Court this afternoon, indicated that a 57-year-old woman was asleep in her home when she was awakened by a dog barking at approximately 1 to 2 a.m.

The woman walked outside believing there might be animals in her yard. At that point, the court document states, she was “jumped” by a man she recognized to be Taylor.

The reported victim told authorities she didn’t know Taylor personally and has never met him. However, she had seen his photograph circulated by the neighborhood watch as Taylor was suspected to be involved in recent neighborhood disturbances.

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The woman explained, according to the probable cause statement, that Taylor used his body weight to get over her.

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“(He) grabbed her by the front of the neck with one hand and then used his other hand to close her mouth in an attempt to stop her from calling for help,” the court document states.

At that point, the probable cause statement indicates Taylor began to sexually assault the woman.

When Hawai‘i Police interviewed the reported victim, officers observed small cuts on her nose, lip and hand, redness to the front of her neck and back as well as bruising on her back.

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Taylor was found later that morning at approximately 7 a.m. sleeping in a vacant lot approximately 50 yards from the reported victim’s residence. At that point, police took the 46-year-old into custody as a potential suspect.

The woman did identify Taylor while he was being detained. She reported she was 95% sure he was the man responsible for her alleged attack.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.
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