James Bird faces child sex assault sentence after declaring innocence on video
Tomorrow morning, James Craig Bird is slated to be sentenced after pleading guilty to pattern child sexual assault by a person in a position of trust.
His court appearance marks a remarkable turn of events for a man who created a website and a video (see it below) to proclaim his innocence of the accusations against him.
The allegations are contained in an arrest affidavit also included here. In September 2009, according to the document, an underaged person went to police to report on Bird, with whom he'd lived for the past three years and referred to as "Dad." He told cops he'd met Bird at the Heritage Christian Center six or seven years earlier and had been living with him for the past three. And while Bird reportedly purchased him anything he wanted, including a Toyota Camry, he had to pay a high price for his beneficence.
On a day shortly he turned seventeen, the young man said, Bird began undressing him. When the teen told him to stop, the affidavit maintains, Bird sternly ordered him to lay down and performed oral sex on the boy -- an act that was allegedly repeated a minimum of 100 times over the next three years. If he complained, the boy added, Bird would slap or punch him. He's also said to have held a knife to the teen's throat during one argument.
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The affidavit goes on to tell similar stories about three other boys, and also details Bird's alleged manipulation of an unnamed mom. She told police Bird seemed like a "great guy" and was generous to a fault, picking up the tab for three sets of braces among other gifts. She didn't suspect his motives in part because he appeared to have a romantic interest in her. As such, she allowed the boys to go on trips with Bird, including a number of jaunts to international locations.
The boys also revealed that Bird had supplied them with drugs and alcohol, recalling behavior uncovered in a separate investigation of him circa 1994 in Douglas County. At the time, Bird allegedly held parties attended by minors aplenty, and in one case was said to have attempted to trade a joint for a "blow job." In the end, though, he wasn't prosecuted because he'd moved out of the country and had no immediate plans to return -- although clearly, he eventually did.
By November 2009, Bird was overseas again when the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office released information about active warrants against him in regard to alleged sex assault against the four boys. But he didn't lay low. Instead, he created Craigbird.TV, a website built around a video called "My Response in Defense" in which he faced the camera and talked about allegations made against him by "one of my adopted sons." He called these accusations "baseless and false," adding, "I am extremely surprised and very sad that this has transpired.... I don't even have words to describe how these false accusations impact my career, my personal life, my family, my friends and my future...."
At that point in the clip, Bird addressed his alleged victim, saying, "You know that these allegations are without cause. Are you aware of what you are doing with me? My life and my future have been placed in jeopardy. Why are you doing this when you know it's not true? What do you expect to gain from this?"
All in all, it's a remarkable performance in which Bird did his best to keep his anger -- described in the affidavit as his "fighting look" -- under control. But his guilty plea on December 20 to a charge that names all four victims suggests that the person lying was him. He faces a sentencing range of between eight and 24 years to life -- a jolt that will likely keep Bird, who's in his early sixties, behind bars, and away from kids, for the rest of his time on this mortal coil.
Look below to watch the video, and to read the aforementioned affidavit in its entirety.
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More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "James C. Bird and young boys allegedly a very bad combination."
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