(AP) – A man has been charged with sexually abusing children at his wife’s Maryland day care, days after his wife was charged with shooting him at a Washington, D.C., hotel, authorities said.
Baltimore County police said Tuesday that they obtained an arrest warrant charging James S. Weems Jr., 57, of Randallstown, Maryland, with 13 sex crimes related to the abuse of at least three children at the day care in Owings Mills, news outlets reported.
Weems and his wife, Shanteari Weems, were at a hotel in Washington’s southwest on July 21 when the shooting occurred, that city’s Metropolitan Police Department said. She told investigators that they had argued over the abuse allegations, according to a court affidavit.
Detectives in Baltimore County began investigating James Weems earlier this month over allegations that he abused at least three children at the day care, police spokeswoman Joy Lepola-Stewart said. The warrant charges Weems with three counts each of sexual abuse of a minor and second-, third- and fourth-degree sex offenses.
James Weems remains hospitalized with two gunshot wounds that aren’t considered life-threatening and is considered a fugitive from justice and is under guard, police in Washington said.
Shanteari Weems told police that she had “received multiple messages and phone calls from parents and teachers” about sexual abuse allegations at the day care center and went to meet her husband of five years at the hotel, according to the affidavit. She repeatedly asked him about the accusations and it escalated into an argument, she told police.
Her lawyer, Tony N. Garcia, said his client started her business in the early 2000s and the allegations against her husband “were pretty earth-shattering.” She contends that she shot her husband when their argument turned violent and he started toward her, he said.
“She insists that she was defending herself,” Garcia said.
Shanteari Weems is charged with assault with intent to kill and handgun offenses and remains jailed in the nation’s capital. She pleaded not guilty in D.C. Superior Court and is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing on Friday.
In the hotel room, police found two handguns and a notebook including handwritten messages that Shanteari Weems intended to shoot her husband, but not to kill him and “I want these kids to get justice,” according to the affidavit. Garcia said one handgun belonged to his client, who is licensed to carry it in Maryland, and the other belonged to James Weems.
It’s not clear whether James Weems, who has not yet appeared in court, has an attorney. He was a Baltimore city police officer from 1996 to 2005 and then a “contract specialist” doing administrative work, until 2008, city police said. Garcia said James Weems assisted his wife at the day care and also did private security.