Dallas man accused of abusing student

Four charges involve a girl at KVCS

DALLAS — A Dallas man is facing four sex abuse charges in incidents involving a student at Kings Valley Charter School (KVCS).

The school and its sponsor, the Philomath School District, also were recently named in a lawsuit stemming from the incidents.

Axel South, 19, was indicted in July on charges of second-degree encouraging child sexual abuse and three counts of first-degree sex abuse. He was originally arrested on seven charges, but three were dropped after the grand jury heard evidence in the case.

According to a probable cause statement filed with Polk County Circuit Court, the abuse occurred while the suspect and victim — a teenaged girl — were riding on the bus between Dallas and the charter school last spring. Both the suspect and victim live in Dallas.

Polk County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jayme Kimberly said South was not a student at the time of the incidents, but an employee or volunteer at the school.

The incidents were first reported to Dallas police by the victim’s father after he found explicit videos on his daughter’s cell phone. The pair used Vine, a video sharing site, to exchange short videos.

Kimberly said the first-degree sex abuse charges are Measure 11 offenses carrying a mandatory sentence of 75 months each, if South is convicted. With no prior convictions, South would serve probation on the encouraging child abuse charge.

South’s attorney, Martin Habekost, has requested South undergo a “psycho-sexual” assessment, a series of interviews, review of the charges, a polygraph test and other evaluations to determine his “threat level” of reoffending. The assessment could conclude if South would benefit from treatment or if his risk is high enough to recommend incarceration, Kimberly said.

The Corvallis Gazette-Times reported last week that both the school and Philomath School District have been notified they have been named in a lawsuit filed by the victim’s family. Calls to the family’s attorney were not returned by press time.

South was scheduled for a pretrial conference in Polk County Circuit Court on Tuesday after the Itemizer-Observer’s press time.

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