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A registered sex offender residing in Page was arrested over the weekend on charges of manslaughter and sexual assault that allegedly occurred at Grove Lake.
Joey Crooker, 37, was arrested on Sunday night for sexual assault in the first degree, a class II felony, and manslaughter of an unborn child, a class IIA felony. He is being held in the Antelope County Jail on 10 percent of $100,000 bond.
The arrest was made as part of a collaborative investigation between the Antelope County Sheriff’s Department and the Holt County Sheriff’s Department.
According to court records, Crooker admitted to a Holt County deputy that he raped a 25-year-old pregnant woman while camping at Grove Lake after they attended the Clearwater Rodeo concert. The deputy advised Sheriff Bob Moore of the situation.
The alleged victim was interviewed and told the officers that, prior to her sexual encounter with Crooker, she told him “they could not have sex because she had a high-risk pregnancy and she was on the 9th or 10th week of carrying the child.”
She said he complained that he hadn’t had sex for awhile and he “had been around a lot of pregnant women in his time and they still had sex.” The alleged victim advised that they may not have been high-risk pregnancies, “but he didn’t seem to care,” the record stated. She told officers that she began spotting blood the next day and it continued over the next couple weeks.
When she attempted to leave Crooker on July 3, he grabbed the suitcase she was carrying. As he pulled it away, “it gouged her stomach and left a bruise on the right lower side,” according to court documents. When she eventually saw her doctor, the ultrasound indicated that the baby had died.
According to court records, the victim’s family indicated “there has been a pattern of abuse going on this relationship” and she “was scared to come forward and to leave Joe Crooker and seek medical treatment.”
Crooker is scheduled to appear for arraignment in Antelope County Court on Aug. 21.