PD: Manager forced workers to have sex with him

Posted at 2:02 PM, Jan 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-15 00:41:51-05

A Phoenix manager is facing several charges after allegedly forcing two of his underage co-workers to have sex with him.

Police said in court records that 44-year-old James Christopher Bonett, a manager at a seasonal retail store, used his position to force two of his female employees, who were underage, to have sex with him over three weeks.

According to the documents, Bonett changed the girls' work schedules to make sure at least one of them worked with him each night he was scheduled to close and threatened to fire them if they didn't cooperate.

"It's really about power and control," said therapist and sex abuse expert Melinda Vail. "Sex is just the tool used to control or have power over someone."

As a specialist in sexual abuse, Vail says usually the victims in sex crimes are bullied into thinking it's their fault and fear can be a powerful tactic. 

"They often don't tell, because it’s embarrassing and they feel like somehow, they feel like they attracted it or they are targeted for a specific reason," said Vail. "Usually people like this manager will target kids that are already vulnerable."

According to court documents Bonett was finally caught after his ex-wife found text messages and got in contact with the girls, convincing them to come forward with their families.

"Good for her that she empowered those girls so they could all speak up together," said Vail. 

A friend also reported that Bonett was bragging about it, according to court documents.

Bonett was arrested and charged with sexual conduct with a minor and luring a minor for sexual exploitation.