Former Jefferson County Prosecutor sentenced to 18 months over sexual contact with defendant, lying to FBI

Former Jefferson County Prosecutor James Isaac Crabtree, 40, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for having coerced sexual contact with a defendant and ly
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 6:02 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Former Jefferson County Prosecutor James Isaac Crabtree, 40, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for having coerced sexual contact with a defendant and lying to the FBI.

“James Crabtree repeatedly coerced a woman into sexual activity by offering to help her with pending criminal cases and making her think she risked jail and the loss of her children if she refused,” said U.S. Attorney Sayler Fleming. “The sentence he received today should send a message to officials about the consequences of betraying the public’s trust and violating the rights of vulnerable victims.”

News 4 obtained audio of this encounter back in November.

“I can be a valuable friend,” Crabtree can be heard on the tape.

“No, No. No, I’m trying to help you; you’ve got kids. I just didn’t know if you wanted to do anything on the side. If not, it’s no big deal. I’m dismissing your cases regardless,” Crabtree can be heard saying after the woman told him she wouldn’t have sex with him.

According to the court, the victim took the mention of her children as a threat that she could serve jail time and lose her children if she did not go along with what Crabtree wanted.

On multiple occasions, Crabtree had kissed and groped the victim, asking her to take off her clothing. During one of these encounters, he masturbated in front of her.

In court, the victim said that these incidents had taken everything from her. She told the court she had lost her home and her two children because of Crabtree’s crimes. She also told the court that Crabtree had stalked her and shown up at her workplace.

In a written statement to the court, the woman said, “When I showed up to the courthouse and his office, I trusted him. Instead of an officer of the court and a true prosecutor, I found out that I encountered a monster and a person not deserving of the titles and office bestowed upon him. He horribly abused my trust in him. He violated me. He sexually assaulted me.”

“In the moments leading up to it and after the assaults, he preyed upon my vulnerabilities and weaknesses,” she said. “He then continued to use those vulnerabilities and weaknesses to exercise his control over me and manipulate me. He threatened to interfere in my other legal matters and talked about how powerful he was and how he knew the attorneys or judges involved and could easily contact them. To this date, I still do not know whether he contacted them or how many.”

While being questioned by the FBI in March 2022, Crabtree lied when he denied having sexual contact with the victim.

“James Crabtree is even worse than other sexual predators because he used his official authority to abuse a victim, which makes his sexual assault a civil rights violation,” said Special Agent in Charge Jay Greenberg of the FBI St. Louis Division. “The FBI prioritizes investigating any government employee who misuses his or her official position.”

Along with his 18 months in prison, Crabtree was also ordered to pay the costs for any counseling for the victim.