Man charged with predatory criminal sexual assault of a child

Man charged with predatory criminal sexual assault of a child

URBANA — A Thomasboro man who allegedly molested children in his girlfriend's in-home day care center is in the Champaign County Jail.

Champaign County sheriff's Lt. Ed Ogle said Lyn Y. Niemann, 37, was arrested Wednesday for predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, a Class X felony.

The charges alleged that Niemann had sexual contact with two children under the age of 13 for several years.

Ogle said the allegations came to light over the weekend when the children reported to their father that Niemann was "mean" to them. Upon further questioning, the father learned that Niemann had allegedly improperly touched his children. On Saturday, the father contacted the Department of Children and Family Services, which began an investigation that extended to the sheriff's office on Monday.

Ogle said the children were interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center and gave detailed accounts of alleged abuse by Niemann.

Sheriff's detectives then used that information to obtain an arrest warrant for him and a search warrant for his home and his office.

Niemann is employed by the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, where he's been an information technology specialist since November 2006. A search was done there Tuesday and Ogle said deputies seized evidence to support the children's allegations against Niemann. He was arrested Wednesday morning at the DCFS office in Urbana, Ogle said.

Ogle said detectives are continuing to question other children who were in the day care, which is run in Niemann's home on East North Street in Thomasboro.

Ogle said Niemann has lived with the day care operator for eight years.

DCFS spokesman Dave Clarkin said the woman had been licensed since March 2010 to care for up to seven children in her home. In the wake of the allegations against Niemann, the woman surrendered her license, Clarkin said. Ogle said she has cooperated in the criminal investigation.

Clarkin said Monday is the beginning of child abuse awareness month in Illinois, where he said one in five children is abused or neglected before the age of 18. Sexual abuse of children is believed to be the most under-reported crime, he said.

Anyone who suspects a child is being abused is encouraged to call the child abuse and neglect hotline at 800-252-2873.

Anyone with information about Niemann is asked to call the sheriff's office at 217-384-1215.

Niemann is being held in lieu of $500,000 bond.

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