Independence police officer, 37, charged with raping teenage girl

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Jackson County prosecutors filed charges on Thursday against a 37-year-old Independence man they say had sexual relations with a girl as young as 14.

Provided to FOX 4 by a source.

Provided to FOX 4 by a source, who said the picture is from a yearbook the Independence Police Dept. published a few years ago.

James M. Combs, who is an Independence police officer, was charged with second-degree statutory rape for his alleged actions.

The Independence Police Department requested the Missouri Highway Patrol's help to investigate the case because Combs is an Independence police officer.

According to court records, Highway Patrol officers found that Combs had sexual intercourse with a girl between December 2014 and June 2016. She was 14 or 15 at the time of their first sexual intercourse.

On Thursday Combs surrendered to authorities and posted a $75,000 bond. Neither the Jackson County Detention Center nor the Missouri Highway Patrol could provide FOX 4 with a mugshot of Combs, who has been with the Independence Police Department for 14 years. Before that, he worked for the Sugar Creek Police Dept. for two years.

In November 2015, KMZU-FM reported on its website that Combs was among 12 Independence police officers presented awards at the 44th annual Valor Award ceremony. Combs received the 'Silver Award' which goes to an officer who has performed a dangerous or distinguished act beyond expectations of the job. In March 2015, Combs received the Life Saving Award for an incident that happened in 2014.

The Independence Police Department released the following statement about Combs:

James Combs has been employed as a police officer with the City of Independence since 2002. Since receiving this complaint, Mr. Combs has not been performing duties as a police officer. Inquiries on this case, as with all state level cases, will be forwarded to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.