Boy, 12, accused of sex assault
Attack on 4-year-old caught on tape at YMCA
By MARY ZAHN
Posted: Jan. 31, 2005
A 12-year-old boy sexually assaulted a 4-year-old girl in the unsupervised weight room at the Parklawn YMCA Saturday afternoon after hitting, kicking and choking her, according to a petition filed Monday in Milwaukee County Children's Court.
Most of the assault was captured on video security cameras at the facility, located at 4340 N. 46th St, records show. The children - who did not know each other - were unsupervised at the time, according to the petition.
One of the facility managers who was at the front information desk looked up at a video camera monitor about 1:15 p.m. and saw the boy "wearing a black and red basketball jersey and black mesh shorts on top of a little girl wearing a purple coat, hat, scarf and pink outfit" in the weight room, the petition states. The manager ran to the room and saw the boy pulling up his shorts. He tried to run away but was stopped by another staff member, records state.
The girl had been enrolled in the "Y Love Program" along with her 9-year-old brother from 8 a.m. until noon, authorities said. Herb Hayden, branch executive of the Parklawn YMCA, said the program was a "faith-based leadership development program" that offered help with homework and Bible study. It could not be learned why the girl was unsupervised after the program.
When shown the video during the police investigation, the girl pointed to her image and said, "That's me crying."
The girl said the boy hit her and pushed her to the ground, kicked her, pulled at her pants and then choked her with her scarf. The assault took about seven minutes, the petition states.
The girl was treated and released at Aurora Sinai Medical Center in Milwaukee, according to the petition.
Boy has no prior record
The boy appeared before Children's Court Judge Carl Ashley late Monday on one count of first-degree sexual assault of a child, exposing his genitals, battery and two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior. The boy, who had no prior record, will remain in secure detention until his next court hearing Feb. 10.
Lori Kornblum, an assistant district attorney, told Ashley that one of the "scariest" things about the case was that at one point the boy went to a nearby exit and took the girl outside, where he could have walked away with her. She speculated that because of the cold weather, the boy came back inside, where he continued the sexual assault in the weight room.
If found delinquent, the boy could be ordered to serve up to two years in a secure state juvenile institution. However, those court orders could be renewed every year until he reaches age 18, authorities said.
Dressed in a burgundy sweat shirt, tan slacks and tennis shoes, the baby-faced boy kept glancing anxiously at his mother, who sat in the back of the courtroom clutching her coat. Looking stunned and upset, she told the judge that her son was doing well in the sixth grade and was not a problem at home.
The boy told police he had come to the YMCA to play basketball and then went to a game room to play pool and ended up in the weight room to lift weights. He admitted having sexual contact with the girl and claimed she was cooperative.
"That girl is smarter than you think, she knows what she's doing," the boy is quoted as telling police.
A written press release from the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee said the 4-year-old had remained in the building under the supervision of her 9-year-old brother.
"The girl was led by an underage male to an adult-only area which was empty at the time," the press release states. "Within minutes of entering the room, staff observed inappropriate conduct on the surveillance system. They interceded immediately on behalf of the child. . . . We deeply regret any harm this may have caused the young girl and her family. . . . We are proud of our staff for their vigilance and quick action on behalf of this young girl.".