Crime & Courts

Andover teen found in Texas with sex offender

A 16-year-old Andover High School student has been found in Texas and taken into protective custody, and the 31-year-old man she was with has been arrested, authorities said Friday.

The student had been reported missing on Monday, Andover Police Chief Mike Keller said. She left a note for her parents, saying she was leaving, he said.

When they learned she was with Gerald James, a registered sex offender, "we immediately began an investigation into it," Keller said.

"This wasn't just a typical runaway," Keller said. "It involved a registered sexual offender.

"She was not aware of his prior history or his background," he said. "We really see (her) as the victim here. Even though she may have left willingly, we see this as this predator preyed on her."

Authorities learned the pair was possibly in a small town just north of Austin in Travis County, Texas.

An hour after Andover police obtained an arrest warrant, Texas authorities arrested James and took the girl into protective custody shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday.

James, 31, was convicted in 2001 of aggravated indecent liberties with a child.

Texas authorities are exploring whether James will be charged there, Keller said.

"We're making arrangements to get (the girl) back to Kansas and back to her family," Keller said.