Man charged with sexually assaulting 5-year old

Published 10/08 2013 03:59PM

Updated 10/08 2013 06:21PM

Update: 6:01 pm
HOOPESTON -- Neighbors say they're sickened at the thought of a man sexually abusing a 5-year old girl. She lives across the street and authorities say there may be more victims in the area.

Police say the victim told her parents 44-year old James Lewis touched her. He lives in the 600-block of McCracken Street. That's where he was arrested Sunday. WCIA-3's Megan Brilley has more.

Police say they found evidence in Lewis' home including pornographic pictures of the victim. A neighbor who wanted to remain anonymous says she saw something earlier and now wishes she'd done more to stop it.

When you walk down McCracken Street, it seems like a quiet, innocent neighborhood filled with swing-sets and families. But, police say, what happened in this house is anything but innocent.

"I can't believe it happened."

She would see dozens of kids at Lewis' house, playing on his swing-set and in the make-shift fort.

"It seems like he would lure them in."

Neighbors say Lewis would ask the kids to play with his puppies and buy candy and cookies for him, but one day, she saw something which didn't sit well with her.

"He picked a little red-headed girl up, and she screamed like she was in a lot of pain."

She didn't want to accuse him, but now she says she should have followed her instincts. Police arrested Lewis for taking pictures of and sexually abusing a 5-year old girl who lives across the street.

Lewis' mom had this to say. "I knew he was taking pictures."

"Don't you think that's wrong?"

"Not if they wanted it. They asked him to take them."

The investigation is ongoing. Police wouldn't go into detail, but have reason to believe there may be other victims.

"I blame the parents. I watch my child very closely. To see other parents let their kids wander around like that, just makes me mad."

The victim's dad says she's back at school and is doing OK. As for him, he's taking it day-by-day.
Original: 3:59 pm
HOOPESTON -- 44-year old James Lewis is accused of sexually abusing a 5-year old girl. They say it happened in the 600-block of McCracken Street.

The little girl lives right across the street from Lewis. Neighbors say the girl would play at his house after school.

Investigators say the victim told her parents Lewis touched her inappropriately and took pictures of her. They called police. Lewis was arrested Sunday.

Authorities say they found pictures of the victim in his home. Lewis' mom says the kids came over everyday, but she never knew anything like this was happening.

Lewis faces multiple charges including aggravated child pornography and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Officials say he also faces charges for threatening and kicking officers during his arrest.

One neighbor says she witnessed abuse. Officials say the 5-year old might not be Lewis' only victim.

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