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Dawson County man charged with rape

Suspect met teen online

POSTED: January 20, 2010 4:00 a.m.

A 20-year-old Dawson County man has been charged with rape and molestation after an encounter with a 13-year-old girl authorities say he met online.


Joshua West is being held in neighboring Cherokee County without bond, according to sheriff’s spokesman Jay Baker.


Authorities say West drove to Cherokee on Jan. 11, when the girl was home from school for a snow day.


The pair had reportedly communicated for about three weeks on a social networking Web site before agreeing to meet.


The teen reported the alleged assault to school officials Tuesday, when she returned to school.


“Hopefully, this will be a warning to parents to monitor what their children are doing online,” Baker said.


Baker said West, who was arrested Jan. 13 at his home on Chumbley Road, indicated he thought the girl was older.


The day before West was arrested, someone called Dawson County 911 to report that a Chumbley Road resident was threatening to harm himself.


Local authorities did not say whether the two incidents are related, though they are familiar with the suspect and his family.


West is the brother of Jennifer West Budrawich, who was killed last month along with her husband near the Amicalola River.


The siblings’ stepfather, Jessie James Kilgore, and cousin, Benjamin Mullinax, have been charged in the fatal shootings.


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