James Stuart Cornett, 40, of Beattyville, KY appeared before Judge Allen Roberts in District Court on Monday, December 02, 2019 for a preliminary hearing (Case #19-F-00153). The Kentucky State Police, Richmond Post was initially contacted on November 11, 2019 about allegations that Cornett (who worked as an Owsley County High School Teacher) had inappropriate sexual contact with two students.
Cornett allegedly “inappropriately touched a couple students between the months of August and September,” according to a police uniform citation. He was arrested Nov. 13 and taken to the Three Forks Regional Jail in Lee County, charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse.
Court records indicate that Cornett pleaded not guilty and posted $10,000 bond on Nov. 14. Cornett was ordered not to have contact with any student in the Owsley County Schools or be on any Owsley County school property.
As a result of their on-going investigation Cornett was arrested again on November 23, 2019 and charged with two additional counts of Sexual Abuse, 1st Degree stemming from incidents that occurred several years ago in Jackson County, KY. The additional charges are outlined in Complaint Warrant #E05510003654945 dated November 22, 2019 and filed by the Circuit Court Clerk on November 25, 2019. The complaint alleges that during the time period from 6/30/1996 thru 7/10/2004 in Jackson County, KY Cornett unlawfully subjected another person to sexual contact who was incapable of consent because they were less than twelve (12) years old. The victim is described as being 8 or 9 years old. Cornett is described as being 18 years old at the time of the crime. The warrant also describes a second instance where Cornett was twenty-one (21) years old or more and was in a position of authority or position of special trust, as defined in KRS 532.045 when he subjected a minor who is less than eighteen (18) years old to sexual contact or engaged in masturbation in the presence of the minor knowing or having reason to know that the minor was present. The victim in this instance is described as being seventeen (17) years old with Cornett being described as twenty-six (26) years old.
Cornett waived formal arraignment and at the preliminary hearing on Monday Cornett also waived the preliminary hearing and stipulated to probable cause for the purposes of the District Court. The case was held over to the Grand Jury and Cornett was recognized to appear in Circuit Court on February 04, 2020 to answer grand jury indictment.
After the District Court appearance, Cornett was released from the Jackson County Detention Center in McKee, KY under a $5,000 cash bond while awaiting the February court appearance to answer the indictment. The ongoing investigation is being conducted by KSP Post 7 Detective Austin Brashear. Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact KSP, Richmond Post 7 at (859) 623-2404.