Arizona Republic

Teen girl indicted in sex case

Lured, threatened boys, mothers say

By Victoria Harker and Beverly Ford
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 15, 1999

Photo of Jessica Jeffries
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

Police are trying to determine if any other children were involved with Jessica Jeffries, a high school senior.

A 17-year-old Moon Valley High School senior is being held in lieu of $8,500 bail, charged with forcing two 12-year-old boys to have sex with her in her home.

Jessica Jeffries, who was arrested at her north Phoenix home earlier this month, was indicted by a Maricopa County grand jury on eight counts of sexual conduct with a minor, child molestation and public indecency to a minor. The indictment also charges her with committing some of the acts in front of a 7-year-old girl.

Police said they are trying to determine whether any other youngsters were involved.

The mothers of the two boys, both neighbors of Jeffries, said their sons told them Jeffries lured them with small gifts, such as Pokemon cards and ice cream, then threatened them to keep them quiet.

"Everyone always thinks a child molester is a man, but it's not always a man and it's not always an adult," said one of the mothers, whose names are being withheld to protect their sons.

The women said they first learned of the alleged assaults after one of the boys, who are friends, told his mother that Jeffries forced him to engage in sex.

"We instantly called the police," said the mother, who claims Jeffries also sexually assaulted her two other sons, 9-year-old twins.

She said her son told her Jeffries threatened to tell police that the boys raped her if they went to authorities and vowed to use a bow and arrow against the youngsters if they talked.

Both women said Jeffries also called their homes several times and asked for their sons, each time using the excuse that her younger sister wanted them to come over to play.

"She's a kid herself, that's the whole sadness of this thing, but she's adult enough to know what she did was wrong," one of the mothers said.

The women said the ordeal has been difficult for their sons, who now are in counseling.

"It's been hard on the kids. What kind of a Christmas are they going to remember?" one mother asked.

"Instead of looking for Christmas presents," the other mother said, "we're looking for counselors."

"And we're looking for lawyers," the first added. "That's not what you should be doing at Christmas time."

Copyright 1999, Arizona Central