Amy Cunningham
Douglas County Chief Assistant District Attorney Amy McGowan presented evidence against a 45-year-old Edgerton man accused of molesting two children, both 5-years-old, in an April 21 preliminary hearing.
McGowan’s first witness, the mother of one of the alleged victims, said the defendant was an acquaintance of her live-in boyfriend who would occasionally ride his scooter from the Edgerton Mobile Home Park five miles to where the victims lived with their parents and grandfather out on North 400 Road.
The mother told the judge things with her daughter just seemed “off” on the November day she discovered her child was likely being molested.
The witness explained several instances that caused her to raise red flags about the defendant on that day – one in particular where her daughter, who was already wearing shorts, asked to put on “short shorts”, something she had never before asked to do.  When she asked her daughter why she wanted to change, the young girl had trouble explaining it.
“It was weird to me the way she was speaking, it wasn’t her…she was hesitant and stuttered a little bit…she fidgeted and fumbled over her words…She said, ‘because I want them to be shorter.’ I thought that was weird,” the mother explained.
Later that afternoon, the defendant came into the house to ask if he could take the two little girls for a ride on his moped. It was something he had done before, but the mother and her boyfriend, the father of the other alleged victim, denied the request. They were concerned about safety, because the defendant didn’t have helmets for the children to wear.
That same day, the mother said she noticed the defendant and her daughter walking out of the garage of the house together – an area where they were alone.  Her daughter knew not to play in that area of the house, which has stairs that lead  to the basement — where some of the alleged abuse is thought to have taken place.
With her ire already raised, the mother kept an eye on her children as they played on a trampoline in the backyard. She would walk back and fourth in her kitchen, alternating between doing dishes in the sink and looking out a window that provided the best view of the trampoline where four children, including her daughter, played.
At one point, she looked out the window to see the defendant sitting on the ground near the trampoline with her daughter sitting cross-legged facing him.
“It looked like she was touching him – how would you like me to refer to this – on his crotch area,” the mother explained in emotional testimony.  “I know what I saw.”
Another witness, Douglas County Sheriff’s detective Kristen Dymacek told the judge that the defendant voluntarily came to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department to submit to an interview.  During the session, the defendant said that he allowed the girls to see and touch his genitals, telling detectives that curiosity led the girls to ask and that they were “bugging” him to do so.
Dymacek said the defendant told investigators he accidentally may have touched “the wrong thing” when he reached behind him to adjust one of the girls as they rode along on the scooter.
He said a similar occurrence happened with the girl riding in front of him on the scooter.  She said the defendant denied raping the girls.
Detective Rita Fulton Mays followed Dymacek on the stand.  Fulton Mays works for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department and has received special training in questioning young crime victims.
She and a social worker recorded interviews where both girls provided detailed accounts of interactions with the defendant.  The girls both named the defendant as the person who committed crimes against them.  McGowan showed video excerpts of those interviews in court.
Prosecutors allege that, on two occasions, the suspect raped one of the children.  They have also outlined two separate incidents where the suspect allegedly fondled and exposed himself to that child.
In addition, the D.A. alleges that the accused fondled the other child and exposed himself to that victim.
The preliminary hearing will continue at 3 p.m. on June 14 with District Judge Peggy Kittel presiding. The defendant remains locked up at the Douglas County Jail in lieu of $150,000 bond.
If convicted, the defendant could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Because the suspect is innocent until proven guilty by conviction in court and due to the stigma of the charges, The Gardner News will refrain from revealing his name in print.