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Texas trial of Air Guardsman on sex charge delayed again

The Texas jury trial of a Goddard man facing a federal sex charge has been pushed back to Oct. 20.

Paul Grimm, 43, had been set for trial earlier this week, but his request for a delay was approved by a federal judge, according to court documents.

It’s the second time Grimm’s trial has been postponed since he was arrested March 29 in Galveston, Texas, on a charge of taking a girl under 18 years old across state lines with the intent of having sex with her, according to court records.

Delays in federal cases are common because of the plea bargaining process. More than 90 percent of federal defendants plead guilty and never have their cases go to trial, according to a federal court website.

Grimm, a member of the Kansas Air National Guard, has been in a Galveston jail since his arrest shortly after he and the girl debarked a cruise ship in that port city.

According to the federal complaint:

A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent became suspicious because of the age difference and because they had different last names.

The agent found naked pictures of the girl on Grimm’s cellphone and sex supplies in his luggage. The girl later told FBI agents that she had sex with him during the cruise, which started March 24.

Grimm denied that allegation.

He met the girl through a family member while he lived in Ohio with his children. Grimm purchased an airline ticket to fly the girl from Cleveland to Houston on March 23, then they drove together that night to Galveston.

The girl, whose age was not given in the court records, told authorities in late March that Grimm moved with his children from Ohio to Kansas about two years ago. Sedgwick County election records show Grimm registered to vote in Kansas in 2004.

She said she kept in contact with Grimm by text messages and phone calls and “over time, their relationship became flirtatious and on several occasions they sent each other naked pictures of themselves via text messages.”

Grimm was on military leave when the incident on the cruise ship allegedly happened, according to the Guard.

A senior master sergeant, Grimm had worked full time at McConnell Air Force Base as the facilities manager for the Guard’s 184th Intelligence Wing.

He was terminated from that position on May 16 because his incarceration prevented him from performing his duties, Guard spokeswoman Sharon Watson said.

Pending the outcome of the federal case, Grimm can remain a member of the Guard, she said.

“If he’s convicted,” she said, “then he will be separated from the military.”

Because he’s not able to attend Guard drills and training, he’s not being paid now, she added.

Grimm has been a member of the Kansas Air National Guard since August 2003. He joined the unit immediately after he was honorably discharged from the Air Force following a 13-year active-duty career, Watson said.

©2014 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services

 

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