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Police arrest man for sexually assaulting 5-year-old in 2016

April 8, 2022 GMT

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Police said Friday that they have arrested a man suspected of sexually assaulting a 5-year-old while she was waiting for her school bus in St. Paul in 2016 after waiting years for a DNA hit.

The Pioneer Press reported that investigators collected DNA evidence at the time of the assault but periodic database searches didn’t turn up any matches until this past December. The hit led police to a 19-year-old man. Officers arrested him in Cahokia Heights, Illinois, near St. Louis, on Monday.

The man is awaiting extradition to Minnesota. He would have been 13 at the time of the assault.

Prosecutors said since he was under 14 at the time he can’t be charged with a crime. They have instead filed a juvenile delinquency petition against him. That will allow a judge to order a lifetime registration as a sex offender if he’s adjudicated delinquent in juvenile court.

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The girl’s mother dropped her off at the bus stop on the morning of May 2, 2016. A male approached her and told her to come with him. The girl said no but the male grabbed her hand and led her into an alley, then into a yard. The girl told police he hit her in the face repeatedly. A hospital examination revealed she had been sexually assaulted.

“She’s been dealing with this half her life and he was out there living his life,” the girl’s mother told the newspaper. “It’s hindered her growth a lot. This kid used to think she could fly and now she doesn’t. He broke something in her spirit.”