Third boy testifies in molestation trial
URBANA — A third boy told a Champaign County jury Wednesday that he too had been repeatedly sexually molested by a Thomasboro man.
Just as his two best friends testified Tuesday, the child said Lyn Niemann, 38, would allow him and the others to get out of punishment by submitting to his sexual advances.
Niemann, 38, is being tried this week on eight counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child involving allegations of abuse against two brothers and a close family friend, all under the ages of 14, that prosecutors say happened in Niemann's Thomasboro home and in his office at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District in Champaign some time between 2010 and 2012.
Jurors heard all three boys describe in detail how Niemann performed the sex acts in either the bedroom that the boys shared or his own bedroom, which he shared with his girlfriend, who is the mother of two of the boys.
The boy who testified Wednesday said he and his mother lived for a while with Niemann, his girlfriend and the girlfriend's son.
During his stay, he said, he and one of the other boys were also molested inside a camper trailer that was in the yard of the Thomasboro home and in Niemann's office at the public health district where he was the information technology specialist.
The boys said they often accompanied Niemann to the office as a way to get away from the day care children that Niemann's girlfriend baby-sat in the home.
As the other boys did, he described lying on the bed and playing video games while Niemann committed the sex acts, which often involved sex toys.
The allegations came to light on March 23, 2013, when the brothers told their father what was happening when they were at his home for their every-other-weekend visit.
The third boy initially denied to Department of Children and Family Services investigators that he had been molested.
"I was kinda' embarrassed and I didn't want anyone to know about it," he said.
Like the other boys, he also said he didn't resist Niemann, who was the authority figure in the home.
"I just wanted to get out of trouble," he said, adding that Niemann would revoke privileges like playing video games for bad behavior.
However, within a day of denying he'd been victimized, the boy told his grandmother that he had been hurt by Niemann.
So as not to reveal the identity of the victims, The News-Gazette is not naming some of the adult relatives of the boys who have testified.
The third boy's grandmother cried as she described for the jury what her grandson told her had happened to him. One of the female jurors wiped tears from her eyes as she listened and watched the testimony.
Also testifying Wednesday was the mother of the brothers who said Niemann molested them.
She said her relationship started with Niemann in 2005, not long after her divorce from the boys' father. She said Niemann doled out most of the discipline to the boys including spankings and the writing of multiple sentences.
When asked if her younger son ever complained of pain in his bottom, she said he had but she assumed it was from being constipated. The boy testified Tuesday that his mother gave him a painkiller once when he told her his bottom hurt. She said that did not happen.
Under questioning by Assistant State's Attorney Scott Bennett, the woman said she did not have any idea prior to Niemann's arrest that he might have been harming the boys.
However, she admitted that she told sheriff's investigator David Sherrick about two instances in her home that caused her concern.
One involved her seeing Niemann and her older son under the covers in bed together. The other involved Niemann applying lotion to his own genitals while the live-in family friend was lying naked on the bed. She said Niemann had a rash.
The woman is currently involved in a separate ongoing abuse and neglect court case involving her sons, who no longer live with her as a result of the allegations involving Niemann.
In other prosecution testimony, jurors heard the taped statement that the third boy gave to a DCFS investigator at the Children's Advocacy Center. They are expected to hear the taped statements of the other boys on Thursday before the prosecution rests.