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Pilot Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Children Pleads Guilty

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James Craig Bird (credit: CBS)

James Craig Bird (credit: CBS)

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – A pilot has admitted to sexually assaulting a child as part of a plea deal.

Prosecutors in Jefferson County described how James Craig Bird, 65, lured his victims.

Bird pleaded guilty in court Tuesday. It was only about a 15 minute court appearance, but it was long enough for Bird to admit that he had sexually assaulted four children.

The arrest affidavit explains how he lured one boy into his home and repeatedly abused him.

“First of all, I must say that these allegations are baseless and false,” Bird once said in a video he produced when the allegations first emerged.

“He’s being held accountable. Rather than professing his innocence, he’s pleaded guilty and taking some responsibility for what he did,” District Attorney Scott Storey said.

One of Bird’s victims was the teenage son of a friend of Bird’s. He called Bird “dad” and lived with him for three years. They met at the former Heritage Christian Center in Denver, where Bird was a pilot.

According to court documents, Bird bought the young man “expensive clothing, motorcycles, cars, iPods and expensive watches,” even “a trip to Romania.” He also gave him “alcohol and drugs.”

The sexual assaults took place at least 100 times, starting when the boy was 14 years old.

In 2009, Bird addressed one of his victims on his website.

“You know that these allegations are without cause. Are you aware of what you are doing to me?” Bird said in the Internet video.

Storey says what Bird did to his victims will take a lifetime to heal.

“Working in the system as many years as I have, we know the damage it does to these kids, and it’s really heartbreaking,” Storey said.

Bird will be sentenced on March 9. He faces eight to 24 years in prison but could stay there for the rest of his life if he doesn’t complete the requirements set for sex offenders.

Bird was arrested last year in England and extradited back to Jefferson County. He’s also been accused of assaulting a child in Douglas County, but that case was dropped.

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