COMAL COUNTY, Texas - A former Comal County Sheriff's Office sergeant accused of having an improper relationship with a then-teenager was arrested Saturday and is facing a charge of sexual performance by a child, a second-degree felony.
James Alexander Leal, 41, was fired by the Comal County Sheriff's Office in October after allegations he had an improper relationship with a teenager were brought to the attention of law enforcement, according to the New Braunfels Herald Zeitung.
An affidavit for Leal's arrest states the victim, now 18, told her father that her sexual relationship with Leal had been ongoing since she was 17 and possibly prior to that. The affidavit states Leal met the victim when she was in middle school as he coached a club sports team she was involved with.
The girl told investigators with the Texas Rangers that she and Leal started working out together at the end of her junior year of high school and that he kissed her weeks prior to her 17th birthday and then later inappropriately touched her over her clothing months after she turned 17, the arrest affidavit states.
The victim told authorities that from the time she turned 17, she and Leal would always get "close" to sexual intercourse but did not have sex until January 2018, according to court documents.
In an interview with investigators, Leal said he would flirt with the girl when she was 16 but didn't begin their sexual relationship until she turned 17 because he "didn't want to go to prison." Leal stated he "knew the law and he was very careful about it," according to court documents. However, the Texas Penal Code section outlining the definition of sexual performance by a child states that an individual commits the crime of sexual performance by a child if they "induce a child younger than 18 years of age to engage in sexual conduct or a sexual performance."
The arrest affidavit states Leal induced the then-17-year-old girl into having sex.
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