HANCOCK COUNTY — An Indianapolis man told a girl he wasn’t going to hurt her before he sexually assaulted her at a local campground, court documents state.
Thomas Welch, 24, 519 N. Hamilton Ave., Indianapolis, was arrested Wednesday amid allegations he followed a young girl into a restroom at S & H Campground, 2573 W. County Road 100N, and molested her last month, court records show.
He faces a Level 1 felony charge of child molesting.
Welch was visiting the Greenfield campground with family and friends in late July, when he followed a girl into a restroom and forced himself on her, court documents state.
The girl and Welch had been swimming at the campground pool with about 15 other kids before the incident happened, records state.
The girl told police Welch said her he wasn’t going to hurt her before he cornered her in the restroom and exposed himself to her, according to court records.
When the victim returned to her family’s campsite, she was acting differently, according to her parents; her father asked what was wrong, and the girl told her parents what happened, according to court documents.
The victim complained of pain, and her parents took her to Community Hospital East to be examined.
When police visited the campground, the owner told them there were no security cameras capturing footage of the pool or restroom.
Police visited Welch’s home, where he lives with his parents, early this month, and his parents told officers Welch has a mental disability, court records state. They wanted to consult an attorney before Welch met with investigators.
Nine days later, investigators still hadn’t heard from Welch’s parents and asked the court to issue an arrest warrant.
Welch was arrested early Wednesday and appeared Wednesday afternoon in Hancock Circuit Court, where he pleaded not guilty. A trial is slated for March 14.
At press time, he was being held in the Hancock County Jail on a $50,000 bond.
A level 1 felony carries a penalty of 20 to 40 years and up to $10,000 in fines.