Photo: Jerry Donald Busch
A 63-year-old Jonesboro man accused of having sex with a 15-year-old female entered a not guilty plea to the charges against him during a session of Baxter County Circuit Court Thursday.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Jerry Donald Busch is described as a close friend and member of the minor’s extended family.
Busch is represented by Jonesboro attorney Randel Miller.
Miller has also filed a motion to suppress evidence in the case. A hearing date has not been set.
The incident was reported to the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office Aug. 8 by the girl’s mother.
The rape is alleged to have happened during a trip to Lake Norfork. Because of the relationship between the teen, her family and Busch, she had been allowed to accompany him on the drive from Jonesboro to the lake on July 1 and to spend the night in a camper in the Gamaliel area.
Investigators reported other members of the family group were scheduled to arrive the next day.
The girl said after arriving at the lake, she accompanied Busch on a ride on his pontoon boat. She said both of them consumed alcohol while out on the lake.
They arrived back at the camper about 6 p.m. The girl indicated she was not feeling well and went to sleep.
According to investigators, the girl said she woke up to Busch touching her inappropriately. She said Busch also had intercourse with her.
After the incident, Busch and the teen went out to eat, and she said the older man apologized for taking advantage of her.
At breakfast the next morning, Busch is reported to have made more apologies, but also commented he had enjoyed the encounter and would like to have sex with the girl again.
The victim’s father told investigators he had confronted Busch at some unspecified time about the situation and reported the Jonesboro man admitted he had “messed up.” He told the girl’s parent, “I apologize to you and her, and I can’t undo what I’ve done.”
Busch is also alleged to have told investigators he had been so intoxicated he did not clearly recall what happened after he arrived back at the camper with the girl following the boat ride.
He did admit to investigators he had been too intoxicated to drive a boat or a vehicle and what he had done with the victim as a passenger.
During his interview, Busch is reported to have admitted apologizing to the girl and saying he would like to have sex with her again.
However, he was reported to have recanted the statement about wanting more sex with the teen.
Busch turned himself in to the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office Sept. 30. He was free on $75,000 bond.
He is charged with rape and endangering the welfare of a minor.
Busch was ordered to reappear in circuit court April 8.
According to a scheduling order signed by Circuit Judge John Putman, Bush’s jury trial is set for the week of May 10.
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