A man awaiting trial for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl now faces accusations he abused three children, including a 14-day-old who suffered hemorrhaging that could cause permanent brain injury.

James C. Sanders appeared Friday in Natrona County District Court wearing a medical mask on his face and sat next to his court appointed attorney, who stood, to plead not guilty to four felonies.

Sanders faces three counts of child abuse and an additional count of aggravated child abuse. He is also awaiting trial on five felonies in a separate case, in which prosecutors allege he raped a 13-year-old in her own home. Sanders pleaded not guilty earlier this month to two counts of first-degree sexual assault, two counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor in that proceeding.

Court documents in the child abuse case state Sanders babysat a child, no older than 3, in May. When the child’s mother got off work, she noted Sanders had texted her asking her to call him.

The woman called Sanders, documents state she told police. He told her the child was “banged up” from falling down stairs, according to the documents. The woman took her 3-year-old to the hospital, where police noted most of the child’s head was covered with bruises and her eye was nearly swollen shut. The word “POOP” was written on the bottom of the girl’s foot, the documents state.

In late January 2017, a woman called 911 and said she had a premature child who was “limp and gasping for breath,” the documents state. The woman told the operator that she was not with the 14-day-old child, but Sanders had told her about the child’s condition and asked her to call 911.

The baby was taken to Wyoming Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with bleeding in the brain, the documents state. The child was taken by helicopter to a Colorado children’s hospital. Medical staff told investigators that the child would likely suffer permanent brain damage, according to the documents.

The woman told a social worker that Sanders told her he had dropped the child, the documents state.

In May 2016, a woman told police she believed Sanders had spanked her 6-year-old child to the point of bruising. In an interview about a week later, Sanders told police he had “popped” the child on the buttocks, but he took it too far, the documents state.

In May of this year, Sanders spoke with a Casper police detective. He said when he was babysitting the child earlier in the month the child had tried to climb a set of stairs. Sanders responded by throwing her against a wall, the documents state he told the detective.

He then beat the child over the head with a piece of hardened insulation, the documents state he told police.

He later grabbed the child by the neck and kicked her in the buttocks, the documents allege he told a detective.

Sanders went on to tell the detective he had shaken the 14-day-old child for approximately 30 seconds, after which the child went limp, the documents state.

He said he spanked the 6-year-old about 10 times, “very hard,” the documents state.

Sanders remained in custody Friday in lieu of a $100,000 cash-only bond.

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Follow crime reporter Shane Sanderson on Twitter @shanersanderson


Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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