DOCUMENT: Internet, Revolting, Crime

Another Pranknet Child Molester

Online thug was convicted of raping a five-year-old girl

James Tyler Markle

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Another Pranknet Child Molester

AUGUST 6--As if the members of Pranknet couldn't get creepier, The Smoking Gun has learned that one of the online cabal's leading vandals was once convicted of raping a five-year-old girl in the bathroom of a Texas church.

James Tyler Markle, 18, pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault of a child and was sentenced in 2005 to a minimum two years in custody. According to a source familiar with the case, Markle, a minor at the time, attacked the girl in September 2004 at the First Baptist Church in Diboll (Markle lives in the Texas city; the girl was visiting relatives there).

When the child, who was attending Sunday services, got up to use the bathroom, Markle followed her into the room and sexually assaulted her. A source told TSG that Markle warned the girl that he would kill her parents if she did not comply with him. After the assault, he warned the girl not to tell anyone about the attack or her parents would hate her forever.

According to Texas Youth Commission records, copies of which you'll find here, Markle was released from the Crockett State School, a youth detention facility, in December 2007 after serving about 30 months in custody. One of the commission documents was authored by the administrator of the state organization's Sex Offender Registration unit.

As detailed in an August 4 TSG story, Markle has committed an assortment of telephone pranks that have resulted in significant damage to U.S. businesses and is the subject of at least two criminal investigations. TSG has identified him as the Pranknet member responsible for a vile July 20 incident in which he convinced a Kentucky hotel worker to drink the urine of a male guest.

He also placed a July 5 prank call to an Arby's in Baytown, Texas that resulted in $4600 in damages. Markle pulled the Arby's prank in tandem with Shawn Powell, a 24-year-old felon who also happens to be a convicted sex offender (Powell's victim was an eight-year-old female relative).

Markle, whose home phone number was disconnected after TSG's initial story was published (and who just closed his personal Skype account), could not be reached for comment. In a story today in the Lufkin Daily News, Markle denied involvement in the Pranknet crimes, claiming that, "I'm a good person. I haven't done anything wrong. ... I don't go anywhere. All I do is go to church and home." (3 pages)