By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Atmore police investigators, along with investigators from the Escambia County Department of Human Resources and forensic interviewers from Escambia County Regional Child Advocacy Center, are almost finished with their investigation into the case of a local man charged with the violent sexual abuse of two children.
Meanwhile, the suspect, 18-year-old Abraham L. Banks of a Maplewood Drive address, has been freed on bond for the second time in connection with the charges.
A $500,000 bond was posted on his behalf shortly after he was arrested in December 2018 on two counts of first-degree sodomy of a child under 12 and one count of sexual torture of a child under 12. Banks was arrested again March 1 and charged with two counts of first-degree sodomy of a second child under the age of 12 years and one count of sodomy by forcible compulsion of that child.
According to Escambia County Detention Center records, Banks was released April 5 after someone posted a $750,000 bond on his behalf.
Atmore Police Chief Chuck Brooks said this week that the scope and degree of the crimes with which Banks has been charged are the major factors in the decision to keep the case file open.
“It’s going to remain open,” said Brooks. “With a case of that magnitude, there are a lot of things you have to do before it ever gets into a courtroom.”
According to copies of the criminal complaints filed against the Atmore teen, police detectives charged that Banks “engaged in deviant sexual intercourse,” including use at least once of a plastic action figure, with the children over a period of more than 15 months, between August 30, 2017 and December 3, 2018.
Brooks said APD investigators are working closely with the victims and the assisting agencies to make sure all the “t’s” are crossed and the “i’s” dotted.
“At some point the grand jury will hear all the evidence,” he said. “At that point, the grand jury will decide whether he will be charged or what he will be charged with.”
If convicted of first-degree sodomy, a Class A felony, Banks would face a prison term ranging from a minimum of 10 years to a maximum of life or 99 years. Torture or willful abuse (by an adult) of a child under 18 years of age is a Class C felony and carries upon conviction a prison sentence of between one and 10 years.
The police chief said he wasn’t aware of any other children who have come forward and announced that Banks abused them. Neither was he aware of any other suspects in the continuing investigation.
“Are there currently any pending victims out there?” he asked. “I don’t know. I’m not sure whether any other adults are involved, but that goes along with the follow-up investigation.”