CARBON COUNTY — A Bairoil man could spend possibly the rest of his life in prison if found guilty of sexually abusing and impregnating his teenage adopted daughter.
Jonathan David Clark, 36, is charged with four counts of incest, all of which come with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. Two of the counts dealt with sexual intercourse, one with digital intercourse and one with inappropriate touching.
Clark pleaded not guilty to all four counts on Monday in Carbon County District Court. The court has 180 days to set a trial.
According to an arrest affidavit:
On Dec. 17, 2018, Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Det. Jeff Sheaman reviewed information about an alleged incest and sexual assault in Bairoil. A girl from Rawlins High told a friend at school several weeks prior that her adopted father, Clark, assaulted her sister, who was currently pregnant with his child.
The girl added that their adoptive mother Patricia Clark knew about the pregnancy and refused to report the incident because she didn’t want her husband arrested. Sheaman learned the family previously lived in Lamont, but moved after they were found to be living in a home with no utilities. Clark’s boss, Jess Bartlett, installed a furnace into a single-wide trailer in Bairoil and moved the family there.
A colleague of Clark reported that the man joked around at work about his adoptive daughter “taking advantage of him” when he was drunk and now she was pregnant. While the girl was 18 at the time of reporting, the co-worker couldn’t say if the girl was 17 when she was impregnated. The reporting party was worried for the safety of the other female children in the home.
Sheaman arranged interviews with two of the daughters, “Jane” and “Allison.” The Rawlins Times doesn’t report the names of sexual assault victims or minors.
Carbon County Sheriff’s Investigator Dale Miller joined the investigation. One detective called the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina to inquire more about the Clark family, who had moved to Wyoming from the area in August 2018. A written report from July 2018 was discovered regarding criminal sexual conduct. In the report, Sheaman found that the victim, “Mary,” was taken to a hospital in South Carolina following stomach pains. It was discovered she was 11 weeks pregnant with Clark’s child.
An investigation into Mary’s sexual assault and incest by Clark was conducted, but Mary didn’t cooperate. The report also showed Clark offered to pay Mary $250 in child support and would reside in the basement of the house they were living in.
Looking into Clark’s background, it was found that he entered the Army in 2004 and retired a decade later as a sergeant with medical issues. His records listed six children, ranging in age (at the time) from 26 to 7. The last listed address Clark had with the Army was in Laramie. Patricia Clark and Jonathan Clark were married in 2005.
The Department of Human Services in Oklahoma City, Okla. provided a report that was later determined to be unfounded. In the report, Jane said she was being inappropriately touched by one of her older siblings.
On Dec. 18, Jane and Allison were interviewed at their respective schools in Rawlins. Jane discussed that she and her family previously lived in a tent and a small home before moving to their current trailer. When asked about her family, Jane described Allison as “annoying” and “aggressive.” She discussed Mary, who already graduated high school and was living at home. She had three other siblings who lived out of state.
A detective asked Jane more about Mary’s pregnancy. The girl responded that her sister was due in January and was having a girl. When questioned about who the father was, Jane stated “I don’t think I’m supposed to say,” and was hesitant to discuss the matter. The girl expressed concern about being in trouble with her mother. The detective revealed she knew Clark was the father of Mary’s baby, which the girl then confirmed.
Jane also noted she’d been visited by staffers from the Department of Social Services when she was in South Carolina. She elaborated that Clark and Mary had a relationship since she was 17. When Mary got pregnant, Clark said it was someone else’s baby and tried to get the girl to have an abortion. Patricia Clark was apparently very happy about the pregnancy. Mary told Jane that she now wanted to go to college and find a job to support the baby. Jane also said she didn’t know if the family wanted Clark to be the father of the baby or the grandfather.
She also explained that Patricia Clark would claim the baby as her own until Mary moved out. When the detective asked Jane if she was worried about herself or Allison with their father, she wasn’t. Since Allison was only 11 at the time and “not so attractive,” Jane wasn’t concerned about her father preying on her sister. She stated she would punch Clark if he tried anything on her.
Jane added that Mary and Clark were no longer having a sexual relationship and that when they discussed the baby, Patricia Clark was always present. She mentioned Clark and Mary’s relationship began when the family was living in South Carolina and he’d told her while in a truck alone together that she was “very attractive,” around the time the girl was 16.
Next, detectives interviewed Allison. After talking with the girl for a while, the detectives spoke privately about how her responses seemed coached. The interview was terminated.
On Jan. 30, 2019, detectives learned Mary gave birth to her baby with her parents present. The young woman was interviewed at the hospital, confirming that Clark was the father of her child and the last time they’d had intercourse was in May 2018 while living in South Carolina. She stated she’d been treated well by her family members, despite the strange living situation.
Mary told detectives she was the one at fault for getting pregnant since she didn’t stop Clark. She wasn’t worried about her younger sisters being abused, but stated she didn’t want her baby living in that environment around Clark. Both Mary and the baby were swapped for evidence.
Clark’s work associates at Bartlett Oilfield Services were interviewed. One man told detectives that Clark confirmed Mary’s baby was his, but blamed the entire situation on her, saying she had sex with him while he was “on his meds.” That colleague’s wife told detectives that in 2018, Patricia Clark admitted that Jonathan Clark was the father of Mary’s baby.
On Jan. 31, 2019, Mary was again interviewed by police. She discussed a time in Rawlins when Clark assaulted her at a car wash and occasions when Clark would beg her for sex or grope her. When detectives asked if she’d ever seen Clark impaired, Mary denied this, looking confused and noting that Patricia Clark doesn’t even allow her husband to drink alcohol.
Clark was later arrested and charged with incest.
Ellen Fike is a freelance writer living in Cheyenne. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @EllenLFike.