NEW PALESTINE — A New Palestine man faces a charge of child molest after a young girl accused him of fondling her during a summertime slumber party at his home, court documents state.
Prosecutors have filed a felony count of child molesting against 31-year-old Ryan White of New Palestine, records show.
A girl who lives in White’s neighborhood told police the man touched her inappropriately and forced her to touch him while she and a few other children were staying at his home in July, according to court documents.
Hancock County Superior Court 1 Judge Terry Snow has ordered White to appear in court next week for an initial hearing on the allegations. An arrest warrant has not been issued.
The girl came forward in late September, telling a counselor at a medical center and then police she was abused, records state.
She told investigators she was having a sleepover at White’s home with the man’s young daughter and some other children on the night the incident occurred, according to court documents.
She’d fallen asleep on a couch in White’s living room while watching a movie with her friends, she said.
She awoke to White touching her inappropriately, she told police, according to court documents.
The man also had grabbed her hand and forced her to touch him, she said, according to court documents.
The girl told detectives she pretended to be asleep while White harmed her, court documents state. The man didn’t say anything to her during or after the incident, and he eventually left the living room, she said.
Investigators questioned White, and he confirmed the girl had stayed at his home over the summer, but he denied harming the child, court documents state.
Prosecutors filed a single criminal count against White. He now faces a Level 4 felony count of child molesting, records show.
If convicted of the charge, White could be forced to serve two to 12 years in prison, records show.
White has been ordered to appear at 3 p.m. Nov. 14 in Hancock County Superior Court 1 for his initial hearing.
White is being represented by Greenfield attorney Nicole Zelin.