A Superior woman who allegedly exchanged provocative pictures and sexual video chats with a 15-year-old in Texas, and told another minor about the chats in disturbing detail, waived her preliminary hearing in Douglas County Circuit Court Wednesday, Feb. 10.
Jonayla Maria McConnell, 44, faces felony charges of sexual exploitation of a child, use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime and expose child to harmful descriptions. A cash bond of $20,000 was set for McConnell and she was ordered to have no contact with the two reported victims, no contact with minors under the age of 17 and no contact with her son, Austin Howard Bunker.
Bunker, 20, faces one felony charge of harboring or aiding a felon for allegedly trying to destroy McConnell’s cell phone and computer for her. He was bound over for arraignment following a Feb. 3 preliminary hearing in Douglas County Circuit Court. A $5,000 signature bond was set for Bunker, and he was ordered to have no contact with the two victims or McConnell.
A minor who works with McConnell at a Superior restaurant reported to Superior police officers that McConnell had shown her pictures on a cell phone of the Texas girl posed provocatively in lingerie, the criminal complaint said. McConnell reportedly told her coworker that she and the 15-year-old were dating, and discussed their sexual video chats in great detail, which made the minor uncomfortable.
When interviewed by Superior police, McConnell reported that she was pursuing a long-distance relationship with the Texas girl, and she admitted to showing others partially nude pictures of her, according to the criminal complaint. McConnell told officers they met on Instagram about nine months ago and that they video chat every day. She said the Texas girl sent the photos through instant messaging on Facebook.
After being booked into the Douglas County Jail, McConnell reportedly called Bunker and told him to destroy her cell phone and computer, which were inside a van at her workplace, according to the criminal complaint.
Officers went to the business and reportedly found Bunker trying to pry the phone open in the restroom of the restaurant, the criminal complaint said. They seized the phone and computer.
Further investigation confirmed that the Texas victim is a real child who is 15 years old, according to the criminal complaints. Her parents were unaware of the contact between their daughter and McConnell.
Both sexual exploitation of a child and use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime are Class C felonies, and each carries a maximum penalty of 40 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000. Harboring or aiding a felon is a Class G felony and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000.
McConnell’s next court date was set for April 5; she remained in custody at the Douglas County Jail Monday, Feb. 15. Bunker’s next court date was set for March 26.