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Jeannette man raped mentally disabled store employee, police say

| Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

A Jeannette man allegedly paid a mentally handicapped male employee $50 for sex at a city thrift store, according to police.

James French Mulnix, 42, is wanted by Jeannette police and Westmoreland County detectives on rape and related charges in connection with alleged sexual assaults on the 23-year-old man during an eight-month period.

Mulnix could not be reached for comment on Friday. He did not have an attorney listed in online court records.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed this week by Officer John Ryan and Detective Robert Weaver, Mulnix hired the man to work at a downtown thrift store in October.

About a week later, the pair were in the store at closing time when Mulnix allegedly asked the employee to “go upstairs to the office,” where an alleged sexual assault began and led to rape, investigators wrote in the complaint.

“The victim told him to stop and (Mulnix) got mad and the victim was scared, so he did what (Mulnix) wanted him to do,” Ryan and Weaver wrote in the complaint.

Afterward, on at least one occasion, Mulnix paid the victim $50, investigators said.

The assaults continued several times weekly until May when they were reported to police, according to the affidavit.

“(Mulnix) had told the victim if he told anyone what had happened, both the victim and his grandmother would have something bad happen to them,” Ryan and Weaver wrote in the complaint.

The thrift store on Clay Avenue appeared to be closed on Friday afternoon. Curtains covered the windows that advertise the business as Estate Sale Outlet.

Mulnix reportedly admitted to the assaults during a police interview in June. He told police he knew that the employee had a mental capacity of a 13- or 14-year-old.

Mulnix is facing two counts each of rape of a mentally disabled person, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a mentally disabled person, indecent assault of a person with a mental disability and a single count of terroristic threats.

No court action has been scheduled. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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