Court date reset for child sex abuse suspect

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – A 39-year-old Alabaster man who has been accused of allegedly fondling an underage victim is set to appear in court in mid-April after his February court date was rescheduled.

Hooie

Hooie

Alabaster resident James Michael Hooie originally was scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 19, but the hearing was continued until April 16 at 8:30 a.m. through an agreement between the defense and prosecuting attorneys.

The delay will allow prosecutors more time “to provide witness statements and interview witnesses,” according to court documents filed on Feb. 20.

The Alabaster Police Department arrested Hooie on Dec. 14 and charged him with three felony counts of first-degree sexual abuse.

The charges came after Hooie allegedly molested an underage female victim multiple times between 2012 and Dec. 11, 2014, according to his arrest warrants.

According to Shelby County Jail records, Hooie was released from jail on bonds totaling $15,000 the same day he was arrested.

First-degree sexual abuse is a Class C felony, and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison upon conviction.