Suspect ‘bathed’ with his student, a 7-year-old girl

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A Palisade man charged with repeatedly molesting a 7-year-old girl during music lessons in his Palisade home bathed with the girl, took nude photos and videos of her and penned a note in which he told the girl he loved her, according to an arrest affidavit.

Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger called the case “simply appalling” during 59-year-old James David Tiner’s first court appearance Friday.

Tiner was arrested last weekend in Garfield County, eight months after Palisade police obtained an arrest warrant. A federal warrant alleging flight from prosecution was issued in June.

The girl’s mother reported to Palisade police in April that Tiner assaulted her daughter while he served as her music coach in 2009 and 2010. In an interview, the girl detailed for police several incidents in which Tiner touched her, took a bath with her and, at his direction, posed naked for photographs, according to the affidavit.

Hautzinger said Friday that police recovered 94 photos and 17 videos of the girl from Tiner’s home. The FBI has said a search of the home turned up additional photos of unknown pre-pubescent, nude females.

Police executed a search warrant at Tiner’s home on April 19 and found several handwritten notes that appeared to be drafted by Tiner. In one note, which wasn’t addressed, Tiner attempted to persuade the alleged victim to ride her bike to his home so they could see each other. He wrote to “be smart” and “be careful” and find a way to call me when nobody will see or hear you,” the affidavit said.

Tiner referred to the girl in the note as “sweetie” and wrote that he knew that “you still love me,” the affidavit said.

“I LOVE YOU more than anyone ... Always & Always & Always every day-every night-I miss you so much I cry ... I know they all told you not to talk to me-I know you are afraid. If we are real smart, We can still be friends…” an investigator wrote in the affidavit, quoting from the note.

Tiner, who appeared in court Friday via video feed from the Mesa County Jail, was advised he’s been charged with three counts of sexual assault on a child and three counts of sexual assault on a child in a pattern of abuse.

A public defender told County Judge Gretchen Larson that Tiner has worked as a self-employed lawn care worker for 17 years and is eligible for a personal-recognizance bond, which would enable him to get of a jail without posting any cash or hiring a bondsman. Hautzinger scoffed at that claim, calling such a bond “absurd.”

“This is as aggravated a case as I have seen in my entire career,” he said, adding that he likely will seek life in prison for Tiner, should he be convicted.

Hautzinger asked Larson to impose a $1 million cash-only bond. Larson set bond at $150,000 cash.

The FBI on Dec. 20 asked for the public’s help in finding Tiner after leads on his whereabouts dried up. The agency sent bulletins containing a photograph of Tiner and details about the case to law enforcement in Colorado and Arkansas.

The next day, New Castle police received tips from Garfield County citizens about Tiner’s possible location. He was arrested after a short pursuit in Garfield County.

Hautzinger told Larson that Tiner was arrested in New Castle after fleeing from Parachute, and that Tiner had changed the appearance of his vehicle.

Tiner is due back in court Jan. 3.


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