Juvenile sex abuse case in Columbia

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Due to it being a juvenile matter, not much information has been revealed about alleged incidents that occurred earlier this summer at a Columbia residence that was operating as a small in-home daycare service.

Information provided by Columbia police in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Republic-Times indicates that officers responded to a home on Giffhorn Street during the evening of July 17 to investigate a report of inappropriate touching.

Detectives were then assigned to the case and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was also notified of the situation.

On Aug. 5, a juvenile was charged in Monroe County juvenile court with two counts of felony aggravated criminal sex assault and one count of criminal sex abuse, police said.

Sources who wished to remain anonymous told the Republic-Times that the suspect in this case is a middle-school-aged boy who engaged in inappropriate contact with multiple young girls being cared for inside the home.

The Columbia Police Department offered no further comment on the alleged incidents because they involved

juveniles.

The Monroe County State’s Attorney’s Office also declined to discuss the matter last week but did confirm it was handling such a case.

Four men who identified themselves only as supporters of the victims were seen holding signs in the 600 block of North Main Street in Columbia early Sunday afternoon.

One of the men familiar with the alleged incident expressed frustration that the boy charged in this case is allowed to remain in the Columbia school system.

Columbia school superintendent Gina Segobiano said she was not allowed by law to publicly speak about disciplinary issues involving any student or juvenile, but did issue the following statement:

“If a juvenile is charged with a crime, the legal process must run its course to ensure due process. By law, public schools cannot arbitrarily deny a student’s right to an education.

“School board policies and the code of conduct are established and enforced to ensure student safety and a positive learning environment. The district takes all safety concerns seriously to protect our students from harm’s way.  Please be assured that systems are in place to ensure student safety.”

The daycare service was apparently operating without a license. State law indicates that if the number of unrelated young children being care for is greater than three, the operator is required to obtain a child care license from DCFS.

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