|Breck Fleming Wakefield (mug shot SCSO)|
The former owner of Predator World who was charged last year with multiple counts of sex crimes involving an underage boy who worked for him has been bound over for trial.
During the preliminary hearing for Breck Fleming Wakefield, 47, the young man said Wakefield began sexually assaulting him shortly after he began working at the zoo when he was 13 years-old.
The victim testified that "talk of sexual situations" led to the alleged first sexual encounter inside the aquarium of the business in the fall of 2005. The victim told Judge Mark Stephens that he was sexually assaulted multiple times at the zoo and at Wakefield's house in Branson West, during court proceedings.
Wakefield and the young man went on several out of town trips to check on animals for the zoo to purchase. According to testimony, the boys parents were arrested on drug charges while they were on one of those trips and he was placed into the custody of the Children's Division, who allowed him to live with "Breck and James."
When Wakefield's attorney Eric Bochmer asked the victim if he told anyone with the Children's Division of Wakefield's alleged inappropriate actions, he whispered..."No."
In 2008 the victim was mauled by a tiger at the zoo; that attack has left him permanently disabled and confined to a wheelchair. Even while he was receiving treatment for those injuries in St. Louis Wakefield allegedly sexually molested him, according to testimony at the preliminary hearing.
Prosecutor Matt Selby originally charged Wakefield with two counts of sexual misconduct with a child and eight counts of statutory sodomy. However, those charges were amended to one count of sexual misconduct with a child and seven counts of statutory sodomy after another alleged victim didn't show up for the preliminary hearing.
If Wakefield is convicted, he could receive up to seven years in prison on each of the statutory sodomy charges and four years the sexual misconduct with a child charge.
He is scheduled to be arraigned in circuit court on August 5th.
Note: The victim filed a lawsuit against Wakefield and Predator World after the tiger attack that was settled out of court in 2011 with a "Supplemental Needs Trust." Predator World closed shortly after the tiger attack.