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Retired Baltimore police officer accused of sexually abusing kids at his wife's day care denied bail

James Weems was allegedly shot by his wife in a DC hotel room after she confronted him about accusations of child abuse she'd heard from parents at her day care.

BALTIMORE — A 57-year-old man facing sex abuse charges stemming from allegations that he sexually abused at least three minors at his wife's day care facility has been denied bail. 

In court Tuesday, prosecutors detailed a sweeping child abuse investigation to include interviews with 93 children who interacted with James Weems at his wife's day care, Lil Kids Kastle in Owings Mills. Court records show the first allegation was made on July 3, but attention on the case skyrocketed on July 21, when James Weems was allegedly shot by his wife, 50-year-old Shanteari Weems, in a Mandarin Oriental hotel room after she confronted him about accusations of child molestation she had heard from children, parents and teachers at the day care she owned. Her husband, a retired Baltimore City police officer, had been working at the day care as a bus driver for the last two years. 

At least three victims have been identified, including a 7-year-old boy, a 10-year-old girl and a 12-year-old girl. Court documents detail allegations ranging from James Weems showing pornographic videos to the children, sexually touching their "private areas, exposing himself to the kids and forcing them to sexually touch him. The alleged abuse occurred on the playground and in the bus he drove the kids around in, and several victims said James Weems told them they would get in trouble if they told anyone what he was doing. 

A search warrant served on July 18 allowed police to collect James Weems cellphone, and his search history included frequent visits to the specific porn site one of the victims referenced. 

RELATED: Judge denies bail for day care owner who allegedly shot her husband over child abuse allegations

Shanteari Weems is being heralded as a vigilante hero on social media for shooting her husband over the abuse allegations. Advocates are sending messages on Twitter and TikTok using #FreeShanteari, with some asking how they can contribute to her legal defense. Dozens of supporters crowded into a D.C. courtroom Friday, with even more watching online, demanding that she be released pending trial, and shouting at the judge when she was not. 

“Everyone knows she shouldn't have taken the law into her own hands ... but her whole entire business is gone," nearby business owner Kathy Scherr, who said she knows parents who sent their kids to her day care, said. "Her reputation is gone, her marriage is gone, those kids are hurt. She obviously cared about them, so who knows, if it was one of us, what you'd be driven to."

DC Superior Court Magistrate Judge Trafford found probable cause to believe Shanteari Weems brought a gun to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on July 21 and shot her husband, James Weems, in the neck and thigh.

"Whatever decision-making process Ms. Weems was engaging in gives me great concern regarding her ability to make decisions rationally, in a way that protects the community and individuals around her," the judge said.

She is charged with assault with intent to kill, and was also denied bail. 

RELATED: Arrest warrant issued for man shot by wife at DC hotel, accused of sexual abuse of children

Baltimore County Police and DC Police continue to investigate the case jointly with the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland Department of Human Services, Child Protective Services. Families with any information about Weems are asked to contact Baltimore County detectives at 410-307-2020.

According to the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA), 1 in 10 children will experience sexual abuse before they turn 18. Parents can find resources for discussing sexual assault with their children here.

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