Lexington man, 59, charged with raping children for more than 20 years

Jerald Harper
Jerald Harper

A 59-year-old Lexington man is facing multiple charges for alleged sexual assaults over a period of more than 20 years, involving girls as young as 8.

Jerald Eugene Harper appeared in Fayette District Court on Friday afternoon for a brief video arraignment. He said he didn't have money to hire an attorney. District Judge Joseph T. Bouvier referred the case to a public defender.

Harper, also known as Jean Harper, is due back in court Tuesday morning.

He faces at least 19 counts of various sexual offenses, according to documents filed in court.

They involve alleged sexual assaults of several victims starting as early as 1987 and continuing to 2013, court documents show.

In one instance, according to the charges, Harper began sexually assaulting a victim in 1990, when the victim was 12 years old. Assaults continued until 1995, when the victim was 17, court documents state. (EDITOR'S NOTE: When originally posted this story said assaults continued until 1997. Corrected 5:20 p.m. Feb. 1, 2014.)

The most recent alleged assaults occurred in 2013, involving an 8-year-old victim and a 13-year-old victim, the documents state.

Harper was arrested Thursday afternoon at Lexington police headquarters, according to court filings.

Police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said Friday that officers began investigating early last week after an adult reported that she had been sexually assaulted as a child.

The investigation is continuing, Roberts said.