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Waukegan 6-year-old testifies in sex assault trial

Jim Newton | jnewton@stmedianetwork.com | @JimNewton5 | July 29 2:29 p.m.

A 6-year-old Waukegan girl testified in Lake County Circuit Court on Tuesday in the trial of a man accused of sexually assaulting her when she was 4 years old.

While she spoke loudly and clearly, the young girl did not identify the defendant, Gabriel Johnson, 19, when asked by assistant state’s attorneys.

However, during cross examination by defense attorneys, the girl said “yes” when asked whether her mother’s former boyfriend — a man other than Johnson — had “touched her with a stick.”

In opening arguments, Assistant State’s Attorney Jason Grindel said the girl had mentioned both Johnson and the mother’s boyfriend after being asked about injuries found by her aunt when she was being given a bath a day or two after the alleged incident.

Johnson, who was 17 at the time of the alleged August 2012 assault, is charged with predatory criminal sexual assault of a victim under 13, a Class X felony, criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Grindel said Johnson was babysitting her alone on the two nights prior to her injuries being discovered. The girl was treated and questioned in a local hospital. Following a brief police investigation, Johnson admitted to assaulting her during an interview with Waukegan police detectives.

But defense attorney Anita Dhand told the jury in her opening arguments that Johnson’s confession came in a Waukegan interrogation room without recording devices, even though rooms with the devices were available. Dhand also said Johnson’s juvenile advocate was a detective appointed by Waukegan police and the advocate didn’t counsel on his behalf.

“Gabe [Johnson] was terrified,” Dhand said.

She also told the jury that the mother’s boyfriend at the time “is the one who did this to [the victim].”

The trial is expected to conclude Wednesday or Thursday.

Johnson is being held in Lake County Jail in lieu of $275,000 bond.


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