Girl was ‘groomed’ for sexual abuse, police say

Married couple and roommate accused of assaulting middle school student.

Middletown Municipal Judge Mark Wall ordered all three cases sent to a Butler County grand jury Friday, March 12, finding probable cause on charges of rape and gross sexual imposition for William Bayless and his wife Brenda Middleton, both 35, and gross sexual imposition against their roommate Brandon Stidham, 22.

He maintained $125,000 bonds for Middleton and Bayless and $25,000 for Stidham.

The charges stem from what police have said was an ongoing relationship between the three adults and the juvenile.

Detective Ken Parson testified in Middletown Municipal Court on Friday that the juvenile engaged in sexual activity with Bayless as many as five times between January and March of this year.

“During two occasions when she was having sex with Bayless, (Middleton) became a part of that sexual activity and participated in that activity,” he said.

As for Stidham, Parson said the victim claims he touched her inappropriately four times in the month before his arrest.

Parson said the adults spent time grooming the victim to “where she could be easily victimized.” It involved parties where they would shoot toy guns and play Dungeons & Dragons prior to the alleged sexual activity, Parson said.

“They gained her trust, then used that to get her in the right mind-set to be abused,” he said.

Monroe police reportedly executed a search warrant on the trailer all three had been living in, seizing two computers, three cellular phones, the top of a mattress and a bed sheet. The electronic gear has been sent to a lab for analysis, Parson said.

Police also confiscated a stack of letters found in the jail cells of Bayless and Middleton, which Parson said make references to alter-egos of the girl, a middle school student, and the defendants. Parson said he felt the letters were pertinent to the case as they appeared to contain veiled threats toward the girl.

Parson said the juvenile is with her family, but is still struggling to come to terms with what happened.