URBANA — A Thomasboro man took the stand in his own defense Thursday to deny ever having sexually abused three boys in his care.
Lyn Niemann, 38, said he lived with the mother of two of the boys from about the middle of 2005 until his arrest in March 2013.
Niemann is being tried this week in Champaign County Circuit Court on eight counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child for sex acts he allegedly performed on her two sons as well as another boy who lived with them briefly, between 2010 and 2012. All the boys were under 14 when the acts allegedly occurred.
Niemann said he had "plenty" of sex talks with his girlfriend's older son and admitted that on one occasion he applied a cream to the boy's genital area to relieve a rash the boy had.
Niemann's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Janie Miller-Jones asked Niemann a series of closed-ended questions about the allegations of sex abuse that all three boys had earlier detailed for the jury.
"Heavens, no," he replied to her question of whether he ever sexually molested any of the boys at his office at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District in Champaign.
He then went on to reply "no" when asked if he ever used sex toys or lubricant on any of them, locked the door while in his office with any of the boys, or touched any of them inappropriately.
Asked why he had about a dozen bottles of lubricant in his home, Niemann said it was because he prefers to buy in bulk to get discounts.
"I won't say it's an obsession but that's the way I operate. Any time I buy, I buy in bulk to get a good deal."
As for the more than two dozen sex toys that sheriff's deputies found in his home, Niemann said his girlfriend "liked having toys."
A state crime lab expert said material found on one of the toys could not be excluded as having come from the older boy.
Niemann denied ever sharing the toys with or showing them to the boys and said he had "absolutely no clue" how a toy and a bottle of lubricant got in the older boy's dresser drawer. The child testified Niemann put it there on one of his birthdays.
Niemann was on the stand for about 50 minutes.
Andrea Wallace, who worked with Niemann at the Public Health District, testified she saw him with the boys in the office frequently during the five years they worked together but never saw him do anything inappropriate to them. Wallace said she saw the boys writing sentences as punishment "all the time" during their visits.
The boys testified that Niemann would let them out of their punishments in return for performing sex acts on them.
The case is expected to go to the jury Friday. Judge Heidi Ladd is presiding.