Couple's lie led to DHS waiver

By Nolan Clay and Sheila Stogsdill Published: October 28, 2007
CHOUTEAU — James C. Bridges admits he and his wife lied about his criminal case to get an exemption so she could open a day care in their home.

Bridges, 32, pleaded guilty in 2006 to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor.

He and his wife told the state Department of Human Services he was charged when a younger brother, who had been drinking, came by their house. His wife wrote, "I told James to drive him home when he was pulled over for a tail light out and his brother had an open container.”

Bridges actually had picked up a 17-year-old girl and bought her alcohol — Smirnoff Ice Green Apple — at a convenience store. A Mayes County deputy sheriff reported Bridges bought himself beer and then drove around with the girl.

The girl also initially alleged she had been fondled, but Bridges said she later recanted that part.

"I guess I knew we wouldn't get it if we said, you know, I bought it for a — you just got to say it like it is — an underage female,” he told The Oklahoman in explaining why they lied.

"That's wrong, wrong to do that. There's no excuse for it,” he said of the lie. "I guess when you're in a situation, you're down, you don't have any money, you know, you try to find a way to get it.”

Bridges and his wife apparently sent to DHS a copy of the charge. It just has the minor's initials and does not say if the minor is a boy or a girl.

Bridges and his wife did not send to DHS the deputy sheriff's affidavit that was filed in the case the same day as the charge. The affidavit shows the minor was a girl.

DHS workers apparently did not check the criminal file before granting the waiver in March, a DHS attorney said.

The deputy's affidavit also shows Bridges was suspected of sexual assault.

Bridges told The Oklahoman he was not charged with sexual assault because the girl later admitted she lied about that. DHS waivers Interactive database

James C. Bridges

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