PLANO, Texas (AP) — The case of a 17-year-old Texas high school baseball standout charged with sexually assaulting a 5-year-old child at his mother’s home day care has been transferred to juvenile court.
The teen was initially arrested June 20 and charged as an adult under Texas law with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one count of indecency with a child. He’s been held in the Collin County jail on $600,000 bond.
But a court ruled during a bond reduction hearing Wednesday there was probable cause to believe the teen “may have committed felony criminal acts when he was under the age of 17” and ordered that he be transferred to a juvenile detention facility.
The teen’s attorney, Peter Schulte, said he’ll ask at a detention hearing Thursday that his client, whom The Associated Press is not naming because the case is in juvenile court, be released.
“These cases should have started out in the juvenile system based on our law. … People need to understand that this should not have been public, and it is now,” said Schulte, who added that his client will be a high school senior.
The teen described for police three incidents with the girl since April in which she touched him sexually once and twice he had her put her mouth on him, according to the arrest warrants. The teen turned 17 in November, court documents show.
Schulte said his client denies that the allegations took place and that “there will be a question” on whether the confession is legitimate because detectives handled it as an adult case.
The family called police after the 5-year-old told her father on June 16 about an incident with the teen in the bathroom. The girl, who told her family that the teen said to keep the behavior a secret, was interviewed by a child abuse expert with police watching. The girl said that the teen’s behavior started when she was 3 and that he did it when his mother was away.
The girl’s parents said she’s attended the home day care since she was 8 weeks old.
The county’s first assistant district attorney, Bill Dobiyanski, said he can’t comment because the case is pending.
The Plano Star-Courier reports that the teen was a top pitcher for a local high school. Oklahoma State University said in a statement that the teen indicated he planned to walk on in fall 2017, but that the school had no formal relationship with him.