It was later discovered that the girl had been abused by the same person for about a year.
Trigger warning: contains details of abuse that may be distressing to some.
A disturbing series of events unfolded during an online class in Chicago where a 7-year-old girl was sexually assaulted while her classmates and her first-grade teacher saw the horror right on their screens.
The incident took place when the teacher gave her students a break and had asked them to turn off their cameras and mute themselves. Although the 7-year-old girl had muted herself, she left the camera on,. Shockingly enough, this resulted in some of her classmates, and her teacher witnessing the disgusting sexual assault inflicted upon her by 18-year-old Catrell A. Walls.
At the time, the teacher had her eyes on another computer but when she started hearing two other students say, “What is going on? What is happening?”, the teacher saw the 7-year-old girl with her pants pulled down. The classmates and teacher could also see Catrell forcing the girl to perform oral sex.
Immediately, the teacher instructed her students to log off the online remote learning application, after which she called out the name of the 7-year-old girl and asked her to turn off her camera, as reported by ABC7.
After the teacher informed the school’s principal about what she saw, the principal called the girl’s family as well as the Chicago police and authorities from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
It was revealed that the girl and the 18-year-old were actually cousins, and they were both at their grandmother’s place when the assault took place, according to Fox 32 Chicago.
At first, the girl did not admit that she was being sexually assaulted while speaking to her father, the school’s chief executive officer, and the principal. She told them that her cousin had “just hit her.”
But later, she revealed details of the assault while speaking alone with the principal. Before being taken to the Comer Children’s Hospital, the girl also mentioned that this was not the first time Catrell had done something like this.
“The victim disclosed, ‘He made me put my lips on [him], and this has happened before, and I don’t want my daddy to know, it’s a secret,'” Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Andreana Turano said, as quoted by New York Daily News.
The day after the incident, Catrell was arrested and he admitted during the interrogation that he had been sexually abusing the little girl for about a year. While speaking to officers, the man said, “I don’t know why, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” revealed prosecutors.
Catrell, who is a high school senior, reportedly struggles to control his impulses because of his diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to his defense attorney who referred to it as “somewhat of a disability.”
His lawyer also revealed that he has “extensive family ties” and that Catrell hopes to finish high school, reported Chicago Tribune.
In court, Judge Charles Beach said, as quoted by Fox 32 Chicago, “This ongoing history of assault, for approximately a year, according to the victim, leads me to believe this is not something that will just stop because I have ordered it to. This history and his actions from this case lead me to believe that he is a threat to an individual and the community as a whole.”
On November 21, Catrell is set to appear in court once again.