James Exline
James Exline

November 13, 2017

The 46-year-old rural Jefferson man accused of abusing his daughter — who was allegedly murdered in May — tried to conceal his son’s admitted molestations of the girl, court records show.

James Hubert Exline Jr., a convicted sex offender, did not “want his son to turn out like him,” so he and his wife Christene — the girl’s stepmother — sought to keep the abuse secret, according to documents that allege Exline violated his parole.

The Exlines’ son Noah admitted to them in June or July 2016 that he had abused his sister Paige, but the abuse was not formally reported to the state Department of Human Services until several months later. It’s unclear who made the report.

“Instead of reporting the crime and helping Paige get mental health treatment and/or physical care, Mr. Exline chose to deal with the abuse by having Noah read the treatment books Mr. Exline went through during his time in sex offender treatment,” his parole officer wrote in June.

Noah Exline, 19, was arrested in April for abusing the girl at least seven times over the course of 2½ years. He faces up to 25 years in prison for each of the crimes.

Paige Exline went to live with her grandmother and uncle in Guthrie Center, but she died in a May house fire that was allegedly ignited by her stepbrother, Patrick Ryan Thompson, 26, of Nevada, who lived with Noah Exline. Investigators have insinuated Thompson set the fire to kill Paige Exline because of her allegations against her brother and father. He faces life in prison for the overnight fire, which also killed Exline’s cousin and injured her grandmother and uncle.

James Exline was convicted of two felony sex-abuse charges in 2009 for abusing two teenage girls but did not go to prison. He was arrested in August for two felony sex-abuse charges for allegedly abusing Paige when she was 11 and 12.

Exline was set to stand trial in October, but a judge decided to move it to Osage, in far north-central Iowa, when he determined that widespread media coverage of the crimes made it unlikely Exline could get a fair trial in Greene County.