2021 | Courts

Man sentenced to 15 years in prison for raping 12-year-old girl in his vehicle

He was working on a project for an MCPS contractor at the time

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A man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl in his vehicle nearly two years ago was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Thursday.

James Allen Booker, now 61, picked up a girl who was walking home from school during a thunderstorm on May 23, 2019, police said at the time.

Police said Booker drove the girl to her home, parked in front and raped the girl inside the vehicle.

The girl told her parents what had happened. Police arrested Booker five days later.

Booker was charged with one count of second-degree rape and six counts of third-degree sex offense. Court records indicate that he pleaded guilty on Dec. 6, 2019, to the rape charge and one count of third-degree sex offense.

On Thursday, Montgomery County Circuit Judge Richard Jordan sentenced Booker to 30 years in prison, with 15 years suspended, State’s Attorney’s Office spokesman Ramon Korionoff wrote in an email to Bethesda Beat.

Booker also was ordered to have five years of supervised probation. He must undergo sex offender evaluation and treatment, register as a sex offender and not have contact with the victim or her family, Korionoff added.

At the time of the rape, Booker was employed by a Montgomery County Public Schools contractor. He was working on a construction project on the shared athletic fields of Wheaton High School and Thomas Edison High School of Technology.

Shawn Krasa, Edison’s principal at the time, wrote in a letter to families in 2019 that Booker had prior robbery and drug distribution convictions and “was not cleared to be in any MCPS school nor to have direct contact with students.”

Krasa wrote that the girl who was raped did not attend either school.

State law would prohibit Booker from working unsupervised on school grounds due to the past convictions. MCPS spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala told Bethesda Beat in 2019 that he never had direct unsupervised contact with students.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com