Police say a

16-year-old girl was held captive but managed

to free herself.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) – Authorities on Tuesday scoffed at the claim of a 67-year-old man accused of keeping at least four women as sex slaves in a concrete dungeon that his relationship with his latest alleged victim was consensual.

Meanwhile, a scheduled competency hearing for accused serial kidnapper and rapist John T. Jamelske was postponed for a week.

“It sounds like the kind of thing that someone would say to begin building a legal defense,” Onondaga County Sheriff Kevin Walsh said about the claims Jamelske, a retired handyman, made to a police officer who drove him to police headquarters on the night of his arrest on April 8.

“He knew what he was doing was a crime and he was trying to cover his bases,” Walsh said. “It was all fun and games. That’s his alibi.”

Jamelske is charged with kidnapping, imprisoning and raping a 16-year-old girl police said he kept captive for six months in a two-room bunker he built under the yard of his suburban Syracuse home. The girl was able to escape when Jamelske took her out in public on some errands.

Since his arrest, police have confirmed that he held at least three other women captive as sex slaves. Police said one of the victims was held captive for more than two years.

A grand jury is reviewing those cases to determine what additional charges should be filed against Jamelske, who lived alone since his wife died in 1999. Police are continuing to seek out other possible victims.

In a series of “spontaneous utterances” to Manlius Police Officer B.M. Damon, Jamelske denied holding the teen captive and said he did not know she was a minor, according to a police deposition obtained by CNN.

Damon’s affidavit is a sealed record, said a clerk in Onondaga County Judge Anthony Aloi’s office and Damon could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Walsh confirmed that Jamelske made several statements to Damon during the ride to the police station.

Damon said in the affidavit that Jamelske spoke to him “freely and unsolicited.” Jamelske said the woman “moved into his house” and that they shared many common interests, including walking his dog, karaoke singing and dancing.

“We just have fun together,” Jamelske said, according to Damon’s affidavit. “The only thing that she likes that I don’t is blue cheese.”

Jamelske said he thought the girl was 18 and that he was planning a 19th birthday party for her in May.

Defense attorney J. Michael Forsyth declined comment Tuesday about Jamelske’s comments to police.

“I stand by my earlier statement that there is another side to the story that will come out at the appropriate time,” said Forsyth.

Forsyth has asked Aloi to order a psychiatric exam for Jamelske to determine whether he is able to understand the charges against him and assist in his own defense. Such a request does not mean that Jamelske has mental problems, he said.

“In a case involving such bizarre allegations, I thought it would be prudent to establish one way or another his mental competency,” Forsyth said.

AP-ES-04-22-03 1447EDT



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