Monday, June 16, 2008

Trial Opens On Day Care Sex Abuse

A prosecutor said Thursday that a 4-year-old girl who told authorities she was sexually abused at a North Side day care center "regressed almost into infancy" after the child was repeatedly assaulted.

Kathleen Warnick, an assistant state's attorney, made the charges in opening statements at the start of the trial of a former janitor charged with sexually abusing three children at the Rogers Park Day Care Center, 7101 N. Greenview Ave.

But lawyers for the defendant, Deloartic Parks, who was a janitor at the center for 13 years, depicted Parks as an innocent victim of children`s fantasies that resulted when the 88 youngsters at the day care center were shown a movie about sexual abuse.

The bench trial began Thursday before Judge Jack Stein in the Skokie branch of Cook County Circuit Court.

The charges are the result of an investigation in April, 1984, into 246 allegations of sexual abuse by the staff at the center. The probe, in which Parks was the only person to be charged, was the first in Illinois to involve accusations of widespread child abuse by a group of adults.

Warnick said the 4-year-old's mother began noticing startling changes in her daughter's behavior after she began attending the day care center.

The prosecutor also said the little girl developed "unexplained bruises" and a "vaginal rash."

The case began to unfold, Warnick said, when the little girl first denied and then later admitted to her mother that she had "been forced to have sexual intercourse" at the school. Read more here.

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