June 17, 2014 at 11:36 pm

Man to stand trial on charges he flashed girls walking to Detroit schools

Detroit— A father of eight was ordered Tuesday to stand trial on charges that he exposed himself to numerous city schoolgirls during a two-month period this year.

Seven girls from middle schools on the city’s west side testified before 36th District Judge Michael Wagner that Mario Robert James, 39, approached them on the way to school and exposed himself.

Prosecutors accused James of exposing himself to girls from 11 to 15 years old between March 24 to May 28.

He was originally charged with three separate cases on the allegations. Last week, he was charged in six additional cases. The charges include indecent exposure, accosting a child for immoral purposes and aggravated indecent exposure. The cases have been combined for one trial.

During Tuesday’s testimony, four of the girls said James drove a green truck while two others said he drove a tan vehicle. James’ girlfriend testified she owns a dark green truck and a tan vehicle that James did use.

During most of the testimony, the girls said the man they identified as James drove up to them as they walked to school alone or with others asking them if they wanted to see his genitals.

“I started walking faster and he pulled back up and asked if I want to get (in his vehicle),” said a 14-year-old student at Burns Middle School who said James fondled himself as he approached her around 8:15 a.m. May 28.

The girl said she reported the incident to the school security guard and principal as soon as she got to school. She also testified that she had seen James before but in a tan car and he had done the same thing.

Another girl, a 12-year-old Durfee Middle School student, identified James as the man who approached her the morning of April 7 as she made her way to school.

The girl, said a naked James pulled up to her at the corner of LaSalle and Calvert and stuck his tongue out at her while fondling himself.

“I saw his face, his tongue, his privates,” said the child who like the others testified in scared and nervous voices.

The Detroit News is not identifying the girls because of their ages and the nature of the crimes against them.

James’ defense attorney Scott Wyatt asked one of the girls if it was possible that she had the wrong man because his client does not have gray hair and is not “heavyset” as earlier described by the child.

Another witness is expected to testify during a hearing scheduled for Friday. James faces an arraignment on June 24.

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